One of the modalities that I offer in treatment is play therapy. I am actually not a “ registered play therapist “ which means going through the Play Therapy Association for official training and keeping current with licensure and continued education (which I may at some point). However I have been trained in play therapy techniques since graduate school in 2001. Thus because of my extensive field training and experience in this area, it is definitely a modality that I offer.
Just a brief bio: my internships as a graduate level student was at Family Services of Harahan, a United Way agency. It was a outpatient mental health agency that offered low cost to free therapy to the community. Going in as a student I was not clear on “what I would be good at” or where “my strengths were,” as a therapist. I knew my areas of interest..however I did not expect children to fall into that category. Yet my clinical supervisor at the time, knew my strengths better than I did! And I am very appreciative of the time Ms. G spent with me ensuring that I focused on those. Working with children and families was an area that I became passionate about quickly. And for some unknown reason children would respond positively to me… I learned that children communicate through play. That play holds symbolism. That play can tell a story that no words can. The pure beauty and importance of play. Ms. G and her assistant supervisor equipped me with extensive knowledge in play therapy techniques. So much of what they taught me, I still use today. I was able to use and expand upon these skills when I returned to outpatient mental health counseling 8 years ago.
I absolutely am an advocate of play therapy and its role in working with children in particular. Although play definitely can be used with adolescents and adults also! Essentially play is how children communicate when the words are not there. It’s important for parents to realize that play has a purpose. Sitting on the floor coloring or playing with soldiers can be just as effective as traditional talk therapy. I make sure my office is equipped with a sand tray, various figures, puppets, art supplies, and feeling games. Positive behavior is rewarded at the end of the session with parental approved “treats.”
If you have further questions about how play therapy may benefit your child, please let me know!
Angie Simonton, LCSW