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Play therapist for children

25 February 2023

Play therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on using play as a means of communication and expression for children. Play therapists are professionals who are trained to understand and interpret the child's play in order to gain insight into their emotional and psychological state. In Australia, play therapy is a widely used form of treatment for children who may be experiencing a range of emotional and behavioral difficulties.

What is a Play Therapist?

A play therapist is a mental health professional who has specialized training in working with children using the therapeutic power of play. They use various toys, games, and activities to help children express themselves, develop social skills, and learn coping strategies. They work with children to understand their emotional and psychological issues and help them work through their problems.

Why Might Your Child See a Play Therapist?

There are many reasons why a child might see a play therapist. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Difficulty with emotional regulation
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Behavioral problems
  • Learning difficulties
  • Developmental delays
  • Family problems such as divorce or separation

How Do You Get a Referral to a Play Therapist?

Your child's doctor or a mental health professional may refer your child to a play therapist. You can also search for play therapists in your area on the Australian Play Therapists Association website.

What to Think About Before You See a Play Therapist?

Before you see a play therapist, it's important to think about your child's needs and what you hope to achieve from the therapy. You should also prepare your child for what to expect during the sessions and reassure them that it is a safe space to express themselves.

What the Play Therapist Might Discuss with You in the Appointment About Your Child?

During the appointment, the play therapist will likely discuss your child's emotional and behavioral difficulties, developmental history, and any relevant family dynamics. They may also ask about your child's interests and hobbies to understand their personality and individual needs.

What Tests a Play Therapist Might Complete?

Play therapists use observation and interaction with children during play sessions as their primary mode of assessment. They do not typically use formal tests or assessments.

What Does a Play Therapist Diagnose?

Play therapists do not diagnose mental health disorders. Instead, they focus on understanding the child's emotional and psychological state to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to their individual needs.

What Treatments and Therapies Might a Play Therapist Recommend?

Play therapists use a range of techniques and therapies to help children work through their emotional and behavioral difficulties. Some of the most common therapies include:

  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Sand tray therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Parent-child interaction therapy

What Financial Support is Available in Australia to See a Play Therapist?

In Australia, play therapy is not covered by Medicare, but it may be covered by private health insurance or through some government programs such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for eligible children.

How Do You Look After Yourself and Your Family?

Seeing a play therapist can be a challenging experience for both the child and their family. It's important to take care of your own emotional and mental health by seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals. You should also communicate openly with your child's play therapist to ensure you are all working towards the same goals and addressing any concerns or questions you may have.