As children feel safe in their developing therapeutic relationship with me they

begin to address their most pressing

issues through play. In the safe and supportive environment of the playroom children can discharge tension, anger, sadness, fear, and  a host of other feelings which could be causing symptoms in their daily lives. In the therapeutic playroom children develop coping skills, confidence, self esteem, and an ability to verbalize thoughts and feelings. As they take more risks and make positive changes in the playroom setting, children begin to transfer their new skills to the "outside" of home, school, and relationships with family and friends. You will notice the difference!


What Happens at the First Session?   
I prefer to devote children's first session to meeting with their parents or primary care-givers. This provides a chance for us to freely talk about current  problems
as well as whatever solutions you have already tried. It gives you a chance to talk openly about your own feelings, and whatever family dynamics might be going on that could be contributing to the problem. During this session we can work together to make some guesses about what's going on and what might help. Often during this time I can offer some parenting tips that might provide some more immediate relief. Teaching you to help your children manage their own feelings and behaviors

is a large part of what a play therapist can offer.

What do I Tell My Child About Therapy?
You can tell your child that sometimes they might have feelings which are difficult to talk about. Tell them you will help them find a way to feel better by going to visit with a therapist who will meet with them in a playroom.
Tell them they will be able to talk with the therapist and play with the toys in the playroom in just about any way they would like. It helps if you've already been to your intake session because you'll be able to describe the playroom to them. Usually they can't wait to get there and they often don't want to leave!

How Long Does it Take?                                   
As with any therapy, the length of treatment depends    on many variables. It would be reasonable to expect

at least five to ten sessions for a child to build up

a trust level sufficient to begin to freely approach or disclose significant material, depending on the issues. The length of continued sessions depends on the duration and severity of the problem, current support systems, individual strengths and coping skills of the child, and other possible stressors.

Belle Heneberger, RN, LMHC, RPT    3350 Pine Valley Drive, Sarasota, FL  34239     phone 941-926-9262     fax 941-706-2461