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Therapies FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


What happens during play therapy?

The child is given the opportunity to explore the playroom freely, engaging in spontaneous play.  At other points they may involve themselves in specific activities, such as drawing family scenes, using puppets to act out events in the family, creating a scene in a sand tray, telling stories, or playing specially designed therapeutic board games. For older children they may prefer to talk whilst using creative mediums such as drawing, paints or the sand tray to draw on their emotions.


Do you ask questions during the session?

The non-directive approach means play therapists do not direct unless the child is feeling stuck or a theme has been observed and the therapist feels there is a safe and proven way to move the child forward.  Reflection of observations enables the child to acknowledge and understand what is happening or how they are feeling.


How do you find out what is wrong if you don’t ask questions?

Play therapists are fully trained to watch for themes and trends through metaphoric communication. As previous research and observations of children show developmentally they do not always have the ability to understand and communicate feelings and concerns through words so they are expressed through play and art.

As adults we can observe this ourselves for example when watching ballet, or looking at art it is possible to see the emotion being played out in front of us.    


How is Play Therapy therapy for individual children and Filial Coaching different?

Individual Play Therapy focuses on healing and strengthening the child one-to-one providing full support without judgment and in confidence.  The therapist helps children to accept their emotions, develop trust and confidence, and improve their behaviour. The therapist usually meets separately with parents to talk through the progression but will not talk through any details of conversations unless a disclosure is made.

Filial coaching focuses on the enrichment of family relationships and the healing of the family as a whole. Filial Coaches help family members to deepen their emotional bonds, communicate more effectively, and create more harmonious living environments. After the 12 sessions the Filial Coach may refer the child for one-to-one sessions with the Play Therapist if they feel the child needs to explore deeper underlying issues.


Can I ask my child about their sessions?

This is a natural parental question and usually it would be fine to ask but if you remember that the child is attending creative play sessions because they are struggling to find the right words, it is better to support them by not asking.  Look at their face, their expression will tell you more than words.

Of course for some children they will want to tell you what happened and that is fine, allow this to be on their terms.


Sometimes sessions are difficult for the child – not all play is happy play.

Children may be working through quite difficult issues and not want to respond to this question. The parent may not think the issue is as important as the child does but as adults we have to acknowledge that what we think are trivial issues may be quite daunting for a child.


How long does play therapy last?

This is dependent upon the child. The minimum number of sessions is 12 as it’s important for the child to establish a relationship with the therapist but sometimes this is not always possible. 


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