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Holly A. Norris, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Play-Based Therapy is a passion of mine and a modality that I have many years of experience with. When you think of an adult getting counseling, you think of someone sitting on a couch, talking to the therapist while they listen to your problems. The counselor may point out patterns they notice in your life, help you reframe certain ideas, reflect your feelings, and even teach you some therapeutic techniques. You would feel you have a a safe place to express yourself, talk about intimate details of your life, and process events that have happened, or are happening, in your life.
When a child comes to play therapy, it is very much the same. Sometimes the child uses words and other times they use play or art to communicate and express thoughts and emotion. Similar to working with adults, using play the therapist will reflect the child’s feelings, point out patterns, likes, and dislikes they notice. They may also teach the child techniques to help them identify feelings, cope with their anger, or socialize at school. And most importantly, the room is set up to be a safe place for the child to express themselves and process various things in their life. In play-based therapy many materials are used including but not limited to toys, art, sand tray, workbooks, and role play.