Play Therapy is to kids what counseling or talk therapy is to adults. Children use play as their natural language and the toys are their words. Play therapy allows a child to change the way they think about, feel toward, and resolve their concerns.
For older kids and teens, the counselor will use activities, games, arts, crafts, and sand tray therapy to provide a non threatening means of communication. The activities are selected to help meet treatment goals, although the client is free to carry out the activity or interpret the activity in a way that best fits his/her needs and interests.
Why Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is effective for a wide variety of problems or concerns that affect or will affect the way a child functions at home, at school, or in the community. Licensed professional counselors can be specially trained to strategically use play and specific toys to address a child's needs when the child does not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings. The positive relationship between a therapist and child during play therapy can provide an experience that promotes well being and leads to emotional healing.
Play therapy demonstrates significant effectiveness for children. You may read more about play therapy as a successful evidence based practice here.
Who Can Benefit from Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is especially appropriate for kids ages 3-12. For older kids and teens, play provides a safe distance from problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings. Play techniques for older kids and teens include sand tray therapy, expressive arts (painting, drawing, creating, sculpting, acting, singing), or activity therapy (constructing, building, balls, games, etc.)
What can play therapy do for my child?
Develop responsibility for behaviors
Develop problem solving skills
Learn to communicate with others
Develop respect and acceptance of self and others
Stimulate creative thinking and exploration
Enhance social skills
Develop assuredness about personal abilities
How long does my child need play therapy?
Each child comes at his/her own pace and with his/her own needs. Therefore, the length of counseling varies. Once the therapist attends an initial parent consultation with the parent/caregiver and it is established that the child will begin play therapy, the child needs sufficient time to develop a trusting and warm therapeutic relationship with the therapist in order to feel safe enough to express to the therapist through toys, sand, or expressive arts, his/her child's world view and perceptions of experiences.
What is the process?
During the initial parent consultation (without the child), the parent will have the opportunity to share concerns and background information about the child. The counselor will explain the therapy/counseling process and procedures and will provide a few forms to sign.
Parent consultations (again without the child) will continue every 4th session. These consultations allow the counselor to address the parent's concerns, allow parents to have a better understanding of the child, allow the therapist to share information about the child without breaking confidentiality, and allow both the counselor and parent to communicate progress.
Play Therapy Sessions
These sessions are 45 minutes in length and may include play therapy, expressive arts, sand tray therapy, or activity therapy in a designated Playroom. The duration of counseling varies from child to child. The amount of sessions a child attends may range from 4-12+ sessions. Individual play therapy sessions include one child and the counselor. Group play therapy sessions include 2-3 children and the counselor.
The Association for Play Therapy outlines the stages of play therapy which helps inform parents of what to expect and guides play therapists during the process. You may read about them here.
Kelly Martin provides individual and group play/activity therapy. To read more about Kelly, click here.
Emily Johnston also provides individual play therapy. You can read more about her here.
At the Playroom Lubbock we offer counseling or therapy for both individuals and families that addresses a wide variety concerns. Each specific therapist inside The Playroom Lubbock specializes in treating particular disorders or concerns.
Services at The Playroom Lubbock are aimed to improve overall functioning so that a person, child, or family can be all that they were created to be. This includes improved overall functioning emotionally and behaviorally.
To read about specific therapists or counselors visit us here.
Running therapy combines talk therapy with movement. The client sets the pace: sitting, walking, or running. Running therapy is an active change from traditional face to face sessions.
Running therapy creates a positive physiological effect and helps create mindfulness. Movement can create physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Running therapy is not an exercise or fitness program. It is not all about running.
Meagan Daniels, MEd, LPC utilizes running therapy with interested clients ages 12 and older. Clients must have approval from their physician.
If you are interested in running therapy to meet your current goals and needs, contact Meagan at 806-853-9655 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An integral part of your child's optimal and collaborative therapy is the parent/caregiver and family system. We welcome communication and collaboration with you.
In Play Therapy and Activity Therapy with Kelly Martin, LPC
Kelly will schedule frequent parent consultations with the parent/caregiver to provide updates about the progress of treatment goals and to exchange information.
Kelly also provide parent coaching in the form of parent/child relationship therapy. This type of session provides parents with the opportunity to learn or refine specific skills such as reflecting feelings, setting limits, and understanding basic developmental tendencies in order to enhance the parent child relationship and increase cooperation and well-being.
Kelly also provides workshops or trainings to parents/caregivers on topics such as parenting, child/parent relationship, or discipline.
In Adolescent/Young Adult Counseling with Kayli Cross, LMFT, LCDC
Kayli's approach in treating families is that the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. In every family, each person plays a role. In a family with healthy communication, those roles are fluid and members are allowed to move in and out of them based on the their need. A simple example - a mom who works part time and stays at home with her kids the other days of the week has two roles she is playing - primary caregiver and working professional. In a healthy family, her husband or other supportive family members would allow her to play both roles. Maybe her husband picks the kids up from school and makes dinner the days that she works, so that her focus can be on what she loves doing professionally. While it is a simple example, it shows that it takes flexibility and a willingness to change in order to have functional roles.
In a dysfunctional system, roles are rigid. Oftentimes this happens because there is an illness or issue of some kind that has taken over - an “elephant in the room” so to speak - and family members have communicated to each other that it is not acceptable to move out of the role they’ve been placed in. In a family where alcoholism/addiction is present, roles may look something like this: Addict/Alcoholic, Codependent, Hero, Mascot, Scapegoat, or Lost Child. The Addict’s and Codependent’s behavior communicates to the other family members that their lives now center around the addiction or work to avoid acknowledging it at all costs. So other family members use these roles to protect themselves: the Hero makes all A’s in school and takes care of her other siblings, the Mascot makes light of difficult situations to make him/herself feel better, the Lost Child escapes into the corner as to not be noticed or cause any more problems, the Scapegoat always takes the blame.
Kayli's goal is to help an individual recognize the real issue, the role they are playing and if it is rigid or fluid, and then how we can involve their family/circle of influence in order to help them reach and sustain lasting change.
When working with an adolescent or young adult, making these changes is asking a lot of the family. Parents must acknowledge the role they have played in the dysfunction, if they want to get the most that they can out of therapy. For a young person who is still so closely tied to their family of origin, it is near impossible to make those lasting changes if the parents/caregiver are not on board, unless the individual completely separates themselves from that system and learns to engage in a healthy one.
Oftentimes, it really does take a village! When an individual or family can move beyond the stigma of sharing their secrets and learn to practice vulnerability and honesty with themselves and with each other, they will find there is much room for hope and for a different way of life if that is what they are seeking. Kayli's goal is to be one person they can utilize to make those changes happen.
Our therapists also work to involve as many effective community resources as possible. A step beyond the family system is the community in which they are involved. People, places and things so to speak. If a family is lacking in this area or doesn’t know what is available to them, we work to help them build the kind of community they need in order to support the changes they are making.
Screening and Assessments
Behavioral/Emotional Screening and Assessments
Kelly Martin, our children's counselor, uses childhood screening and assessments to gather information about a child's behaviors, skills, competencies, preferences, and interactions in an attempt to better understand and support learning and development.
A parent/caregiver or a pediatrician may refer a child (ages 5-12) for screening or assessment for concerns related to development, ADHD, anxiety, depression, or behavior. Kelly does not do educational evaluations for learning disorders or dyslexia.
The process for screeners/assessments includes: 45 minute clinical interview/intake with the parent/caregiver, use of screening/assessment instruments with the child that may include participation by parents/educators, a child classroom observation (if applicable), and a 45 minute follow up reporting session with the parent.
The use of assessments and screeners helps to organize emotional and behavioral symptoms to gain an objective view. Knowing what emotions and behaviors are NOT is just as important as knowing what they ARE. The results of the assessments are reported to the parent/caregivers in a way that is meaningful for the child's progress and course of treatment. Kelly Martin, LPC will provide the parents with the report including suggestions for at home and/or at school.
Speaking Engagements and Professional Development
Contact us if you are interested in booking a continuing education training or speaking engagement at your setting. We are available to speak to parenting groups, schools, educators, child care providers, foster/adoption agencies, etc.
Speaking topics may be tailored to fit your needs.
General Speaking Topics May Include:
Attachment and Bonding
Response to Intervention
Play Therapy in the schools
Self-Care for the Helping Professional
Eating Disorders/Disordered Eating
Leisure Activities for All Abilities
Counselor Supervision and Consultation
Kelly Martin is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. She can provide supervision for LPC Interns working on hours for full licensure. Kelly can also provide play therapy specific supervision for counselor working their RPT or SB-RPT credential.