Play therapy is an evidence based practice founded on developmental principals and neuroscience research. It is a non-directive intervention to help children between 4-14 years to help resolve any social and emotional issues that are causing difficulties in their day to day lives. Play therapy sessions are self directed and uses child's play and creativity to instill self-understanding. Through their own experiences, children are motivated to adopt new attitudes, feelings towards new life situations. However, it is essential to keep in mind that play therapy is not a magic pill or a quick fix. It is a healing process that necessitates participation and investment from patients and care givers alike. Play therapy uses creative arts, sand, clay, movement, games, puppets, role play, LEGO, therapeutic stories, creative visualization as a therapeutic intervention to resolve issues that are social and emotional nature.
Children often lack the cognitive and linguistic ability to process and verbalize certain issues that seem to be interfering with their day to day life. Issues like grief and loss can be quite complex and they may often struggle with strong emotions without understanding. Common issues addressed in play therapy are:
Play therapy session allows these children the space and the time to act out their feelings to help process stressful life events.
The first stage of a therapy process for children and families involves a thorough assessment. Initially, I will meet with you to discuss your concerns to help understand the issues. Following this, I will decide how best to proceed with the rest of the assessment. Depending on the nature of the issue, we will contract for 10-12 sessions initially. I will see your child one on one at a weekly scheduled time for 40-45 minute sessions. I will see parents for a review session every 4-6 weeks to discuss progress.
At the beginning of each session, the child is reminded of the rules of the play therapy room. In the space the child is free to play or not, its his/her choice. I will not stop them unless they hurt themselves, me or the anything in the room. Its a non directed session so the child leads and I will follow. All that is in the room is for them to use. There is a variety of choices like Lego, puppets, board games, paints, clay, sand tray, small world objects, books, musical instruments, arts and craft and books.
I am Papia Chatterjee, a Montessori certified educator, early years social and emotional well-being consultant, certified play and creative art therapist, meditation and mindfulness educator for children ages 4-14 years.
Having been an early years classroom teacher for twenty years around the globe, I found children learn best and are most at ease when they are doing something that is of their choice which includes the use of their senses. Play, which is fundamental to early years development, comes naturally to all children as it uses their senses to explore and make sense. To quote Virginia Axline, "Play is a child's natural medium of self expression". My interest in positive mental health of children took me to Ireland where I got my PG diploma in practice based play therapy from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Training for Play and creative art therapy was a natural transition for me as I wanted to offer the therapeutic benefit of play and creative arts to to a wider community. I am here to help you, your friend or child in his/her journey towards self discovery and healing.
You can find further information of my professional journey in my blog
The use of play in school setting especially by school counselors/resource teachers can help students to overcome many challenges that interfere with academic and social success. I can liaise with school counselors and resource teachers to combine techniques of play therapy and play based programs in developing a responsive and a preventive intervention program to address the academic and social/emotional needs of the students.
Individual sessions are with clients to address issues such as bereavement, trauma, separation, low self esteem, anger management, school concerns, behavioral concerns, sex and sexuality, abuse, depression, anxiety and worry. These sessions are once a week and initially contracted for 12 weeks.
Group therapy services is provided to 4-5 children to address issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem, poor social skills, separation. The sessions are once a week and usually run for 6-8 weeks depending on the need of the group. The group is usually chosen by the school who identify the children who may benefit from this intervention
The purpose of creative art therapy is not about creating beautiful artwork but to go on a journey of self healing. The therapy lies in the process rather than product. Art therapy is known to quiet the nerves and soothes symptoms of stress, anxiety ans irritability.
Mindfulness is focusing ones awareness on the present moment and calming acknowledging ones feeling emotions and bodily sensations without dwelling too much on it.
Individual/groups are taught strategies of mindful breathing practice through guided meditation which helps to build greater self awareness, gratitude, self compassion and calmness.
Parent/ family coaching services provide care givers with tools, ideas and support to help support their children better. Some of the services that can be provided are behavior problem, stress related parenting issues, best parenting practices, parenting during crisis or transition
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