What to expect when your child is enrolled in Play Therapy
Consent for treatment:
For your and your child’s protection, we require a copy of your child’s birth certificate, a copy of the most recent custody agreement including who has medical tie breaker and decision-making authority, and signatures (both parents) for consent for treatment. These documents are required prior to the creation of a therapeutic relationship with your child.
Intake and Background Information:
Jennifer will have an intake with you (without your child) to discuss: current concerns, historical data, relevant medical information, family relationships, and goals.
The play therapy sessions are the scheduled appointments with your child and Jennifer to play and use the play for therapeutic intervention. Parents will provide a written update form for Jennifer to review after the play session. Parents will only briefly meet with Jennifer to handle payment and discuss scheduling, if necessary. During your child’s play session, Jennifer will work toward creating a safe relationship and environment for which your child will feel safe and free to express themselves. Through their selection of play activities and the challenges that arise in their play, Jennifer receives valuable information about his or her inner and external world. She assesses and identifies their areas of strengths and challenges and uses the play as well as the therapeutic relationship to encourage and highlight your child’s individual strengths and work through their challenge areas.
It is important for the success of therapy that parents and therapists are in communication and work together to assess needs, discuss goals, chart progress, and change dysfunctional patterns. Children belong to a larger system that is the family and the environment in which they exist. So, it is also important to allow the therapist to address systemic issues that could inhibit parents getting the behavior and type of relationship they desire with their child. This may at time be challenging for parents, but without addressing the whole picture, therapy with the child may be limited in results. Therefore, parent sessions serve a three-part purpose: to provide parent support and encouragement with the process, to provide parents with updates on challenges and areas of encouragement happening in the play, and challenge and offer alternatives to the system that may aid the child’s progress and emotional well-being. Additional parent involvement may include reading suggested books, skills training, goals review and progress forms, family play sessions, and more.
Cost and Time Commitment:
We are aware and sensitive to the investment required of time, money, effort, and emotional processing. It is our goal and ethical requirement that we do not rush the child’s progress, nor do we delay or neglect to provide appropriate interventions. With that, we unfortunately cannot guarantee any outcome from the therapeutic experience. Despite the best effort and techniques provided, a child will heal and grow only in the pace they are ready to—it is the brilliance of our nervous systems to integrate at the pace that works best for us. What is helpful is consistency-meaning consistent appointments, consistent parental involvement, and consistent practice of interventions at home. A significant investment in time, effort, and finances on the front end may avoid dragging the process out creating a larger (financial) investment over time.
Parent Training Resource:
Play Therapy Institute of Colorado online courses!