One of the most important things that child or adolescent therapists can do for child patients who are experiencing behavioral or emotional problems is to involve the parents in play therapy and other exercises. This is especially helpful in children under the age of 10, when talk therapy can be limited due to communication issues. Studies continue to show that children respond best in counseling for kids in Massachusetts and all across the country when they are encouraged to communicate through play. In fact, most experts agree that play therapy is the most natural way to help children to express their feelings to therapists and parents alike.
Situations Where Play Therapy is Warranted
While your local Attleboro child therapist may recommend play therapy in a number of unique situations, there are a few cases where it is particularly successful. Children who are having problems with friends or family members, at school or at home, can really benefit from play therapy because it helps them to verbalize those issues when talk therapy might not be as effective. While there are many different approaches to play therapy, it must always be developmentally appropriate and structured in order to encourage children to communicate rather than just simply “play” during child or adolescent therapy in Attleboro.
Some of the benefits associated with play therapy include:
- natural and successful communication opportunities
- encourage children to express their feelings
- helps patients to assume responsibility for bad behaviors
- creates an opportunity to problem solve and find new solutions
- promotes growth and healing through child-centered thinking
Why Parents are Important
When it comes to play therapy and counseling for kids in Massachusetts, it is important to work with the parents whenever possible. Most therapists agree that consulting with the parents can help to increase the outcome for the child patients. Unfortunately, many Attleboro child therapists do not require parental consultation and participation. When parents work directly with the child or adolescent therapists, they gain valuable insight into why play therapy is helpful to their children. This can be very encouraging for parents, giving them the tools they need to help overcome certain issues and problems.
Many therapists who offer child and adolescent therapy in Attleboro are not confident in their ability to express the importance of play therapy to parents. Because their primary job is to create a working relationship with the child, it can be difficult to present the problems to the parents and to help them understand how this interactive approach can help children to progress and achieve therapy goals. It is important for therapists to build a trusted relationship with both the child and the parents to best address objectives for therapy and encourage ongoing parental consultations throughout the process.
The Goals of Play Therapy for Children and Adolescents
It is important to identify and communicate the goals of play therapy and counseling for kids in Massachusetts to the parents early on in counseling. Identifying your goals is important to ensure the parents that the play therapy sessions have a distinct purpose designed to help the child. Setting goals can also help child or adolescent therapists and parents to evaluate the effectiveness of the play therapy sessions and counseling to make sure it is benefiting the child. By establishing an ongoing communication and consultation with the parents, therapists are able to share updates regarding progress made in counseling.
The goals of play therapy for Attleboro child therapists should be to:
- help children to be more self-reliant
- give patients the tools to become better problem solvers
- assist children and adolescents in being more accepting of themselves
- encourage children to assume responsibility for their own actions and behaviors
Working with parents to set goals for child and adolescent therapy in Attleboro and the surrounding area may be hard work, but it can and should be done. The goals chosen should be very specific, easy to measure and there must be a way to track progress. Choosing goals that are strength-based and that provide a solution for everyone involved can be a real source of hope and encouragement for concerned parents. Working with the parents directly can help to more completely identify the issues and come up with realistic goals for therapy.
Choosing Child or Adolescent Therapists in Massachusetts
If you are considering counseling for kids in Massachusetts, look no further than Palmaccio Therapy. Located in Attleboro, MA, Palmaccio Therapy provides a wide range of family counseling services, including therapy for children, adolescents and families. As a licensed Psychotherapist, Lauren Palmaccio specializes in the emotional and behavioral changes of children and adolescents, couples and marriage counseling, as well as anxiety, depression, and trauma or PTSD counseling. Contact our office at 617-866-0589 to set an appointment or to learn more about the counseling services we provide.