Play Therapy

Play therapists are trained to understand the language of play.

Play therapy is part of the child counselling services we offer in Calgary  Unlike other approaches, it focuses on the therapeutic benefits of play. It leverages children’s natural ability to express feelings, solve problems, and interact with others through games, toys, and other creative activities.   Although play therapy is especially appropriate for children ages 3 through 12 years old, it can also benefit adolescents and adults.

Types of play therapy

Therapists use varied approaches depending on the age and specific circumstances. They may focus on one type of play or use a combination of treatments.

  • Expressive arts. Activities like drawing, painting, dancing, and singing provide a medium by which a child can freely communicate their emotions and experiences.
  • Imaginary play. By acting out relational scenarios, children can practise coping strategies for social conflicts. This often involves playing with real-life toys such as play kitchen, doll house, and costume jewellery.
  • Sand tray. Allows a child to tell stories that reflect their own life using miniature toys and colored sand. 

Play therapists can take a directive approach where they actively participate in the activity. Other times, they may follow a non-directive approach, where the child takes the lead while the therapist guides and observes. Therapists may also ask the family to participate in specific games designed to address specific conflicts. 

How can play therapy benefit children?

Children’s play can assist in:

  • Uncovering internal conflicts
  • Rectifying the effects of trauma and loss
  • Cultivating new problem-solving strategies
  • Practising accountability for behaviours 
  • Creating new and creative solutions to problems
  • Developing respect and acceptance of self and others
  • Learning new social skills and improving self-esteem

How long does play therapy last?

It’s usually best when sessions are held weekly, usually lasting about 30 to 50 minutes. Most play therapists recommend minimum 12 sessions for lasting results. Some children may show significant gains in a shorter time frame, while more complex issues may take longer to work out.

Speak to our trusted therapists today

Worried about your child’s behaviour or mental health? Eckert Centre offers effective play therapy in a warm and nurturing setting. Schedule a consultation today.

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Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Has your child or adolescent experienced early trauma (e.g., abuse, neglect, bullying, accidents, etc.) and is having difficulty coping? Maybe they are experiencing feelings of anger, guilt, powerlessness, depression, anxiety, numbness, sleep problems, concentration problems, or extreme physical and emotional responses as a result of these traumatic experiences or reminders of these experiences (i.e., triggers).

Trauma Focused-CBT is a short-term (16-25 sessions), evidence-based intervention that incorporates cognitive-behavioural therapy and family therapy with trauma-sensitive approaches to help children, adolescents, and their families overcome the negative impacts of traumatic experiences. The role of the therapist is to work collaboratively with the child and family to address their unique needs. TF-CBT teaches children and their caregivers about the impact of trauma; helps children and their caregivers identify and manage difficult emotions in a healthier way; helps children and families identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, challenge/modify those beliefs, and implement healthier behaviours; helps children and their caregivers to talk with each other about the traumatic experiences; and helps families develop skills for optimizing their children’s emotional and behavioural adjustment.

Who is TF-CBT for?

Children between the ages of 3 and 18 can benefit from our child counselling services in Calgary. Whether the child has experienced a single occurrence or repeated episodes of trauma, TF-CBT can help in developing proper coping techniques. Treatment generally involves around 12 to 18 sessions with each meeting lasting from 60 to 90 minutes.   If you would like to know more about TF-CBT and child counselling in Calgary, AB, visit our FAQs page today.

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