Railroad Set

Play Therapy

For 3-years old through School-Aged Children

 

Dear Parents & Caregivers,

In coming to this website, you’re likely seeking help for your child. Perhaps you’ve noticed an abrupt change in your child, or maybe this is something that’s been building for a long time. You may know the underlying cause of the change—family dynamics, school pressure, or trauma. Or your child may have been feeling anxious or depressed for a long time, and has lately become increasingly overwhelmed, shut down, or out of control.​ They may be highly sensitive and intuitive and feel overwhelmed by the flood of information they are receiving. 


I know you’ve been working hard to help your child succeed and grow. Parenting is hard work! You may have gotten advice from a doctor or teachers, and have tried their suggested strategies. But you’ve seen that your child or teen needs something different in order to thrive.


Wanting to help and not knowing how to help can feel frustrating and overwhelming. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone, and that there is hope and there is help for your child.


Children naturally want to grow and to be empowered. They have an innate desire to learn how to manage their emotions and behaviors for themselves. It’s part of their developmental work as children. Therapy gives your child the tools and insights needed to develop empathy, embodiment, self-awareness, and adaptability. It allows your child to more fully access their authentic self—which is the key to positive change.


I know from personal experience that it can be hard to ask for help. Taking this step for your child—as a loving advocate for your child—is a sign of your strength as parents. You are the most important member of your child’s support team, and I want you to know that I’ll engage you throughout this process.

Below you'll find more information about play therapy. I have primarily been working with children using an intensive treatment model, so please do make sure to read about that format as well.

Thank you for trusting me to partner with you in this journey. I look forward to connecting with you and your child.


Warmly,

Kathleen 

About Play Therapy

Are you concerned about your young child’s behaviors or emotions?

Perhaps you’ve noticed an abrupt change in your child, or maybe this is something that’s been building for a long time. You may know the underlying cause of the change—family dynamics, school pressure, or trauma. Or your child may have been feeling anxious or depressed for a long time, and has lately become increasingly overwhelmed, shut down, or out of control.

 
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When children don’t know how to cope with a challenge, they feel upset—a natural human reaction—which can show itself in the form of a meltdown, anxiety, or a physical outburst. For some children, symptoms may not be as apparent. When distressed, they may repeatedly strive towards perfection, obedience, or conformity. They may seem disinterested in the world around them or activities, yet they’re doing enough to get by. During these times, it’s easy to forget that children are working hard to navigate through a complex world, and they’re making their best efforts. But sometimes they need help.

 
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You know your child, and you know when your child is struggling. Signs of struggle are different for each child, but could include any of the following:

  • Fighting with peers or family

  • Avoiding school or social situations

  • Fear or anxiety about the future

  • Striving for perfection, obedience or conformity

  • Stomachaches, headaches, or other body-based complaints

  • Bedwetting

  • Nightmares

  • Self-harm, such as head banging, scratching, or cutting

 

You want to help your child through these struggles, and you’ve tried everything you can think of, everything you’ve read about, and everything that’s been suggested by your child’s teachers, coaches, or doctors. You’re at a point where you need a new strategy.

I hear your concerns, and I’m here for you and your child.


I’ve worked with young children for over a decade. In that time I’ve found that what children really need to overcome challenge is a mix of mindfulness, coping skills, and authenticity—getting in touch with one’s true self. Confidence is also key, as when children believe that they can handle a challenge, they’re better able to navigate through it.

So how can we teach mindfulness, coping skills, and authenticity to young children—even as young as two years old?

Wild Flowers
 
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Play is the language of children. 

It’s how they naturally learn about themselves and the world around them. Play is how children build relationships, develop their brains, and explore life's challenges.

Play therapy meets children at their developmental level. It helps them to learn in ways that they can understand and embrace. It gives them a more comfortable way to express themselves when words aren’t easily shared.

I am a Certified Synergetic Play Therapist and a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). I have extensive training in using the therapeutic powers of play to work with children’s brains and nervous systems. I teach children to connect their mind, body, and emotions—in other words, mindfulness. Through play therapy, I help children learn how to access their whole brain during hard times.

 

What can children learn through play therapy?

Instead of being overwhelmed by their emotions, children can learn to experience their emotions. Instead of shutting down in times of stress, children can learn to express themselves and ask for help. Instead of having an outburst or meltdown, children can learn to breathe deeply and regulate their reactions. Instead of feeling out of control, children can learn to think clearly, problem solve, and navigate through challenges.


I give them the coping skills they need to regulate and stay connected to their body during times of stress or struggle. When they can connect with their bodies and regulate, they can more easily access their authentic self. They can make choices about what they truly want to do or say. They can embrace authenticity. And they can do all of this in a way that feels comfortable, natural, and safe to them—through play.​

 
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Intensive Play Therapy

It’s so hard to watch someone you love struggle, especially when that someone is your child. You want to do everything you can to comfort them, to make things feel okay again, and to help them find relief—as quickly as possible. While there isn’t a neat and tidy timeline for working through mental, behavioral, or emotional struggles, there are processes that can provide faster relief when it’s needed the most.


Intensive play therapy essentially condenses the work of six months of play therapy into one to two months, and could be an ideal approach if you are seeking faster relief for your child. This isn’t to say that your child will necessarily be done with therapy in one to two months—just as a child isn’t necessarily done after six months of weekly therapy. Yet through this intensive approach, your child can make faster progress and start seeing positive results sooner.


Intensive Play Therapy can be a good fit for any child. It may be especially helpful for children ages 3 to 10 who:

  • are processing a major life change, including adoption, divorce, or the loss of a family member. 

  • have experienced child abuse.

  • have witnessed domestic violence.

  • are dealing with behavioral or emotional challenges, including frequent nightmares, separation anxiety, or frequent tantrums. 

  • are experiencing a major life transition, such as a move or a divorce. 


Through this process I’ll meet with your child two or three days per week for two 45-minute play therapy sessions on each of our meeting days. We’ll have a 10-minute break between sessions to allow both of us to reset. While the process is intensive, as the name suggests, the format of play makes it accessible, comfortable, and engaging for young children. (Kids love to play!)


What is unique about Intensive Play Therapy?

Intensive Play Therapy achieves faster change and is often a deeper, more gratifying process than weekly therapy. This is mainly because when children meet with me so regularly they feel more comfortable allowing themselves to go deeper into their emotions. They know that our visits are frequent, and that they’ll be able to return again soon for more support. 


During this attachment-focused therapy, we’ll work on your child’s ability to connect with their true self and to access their whole brain when they face a stress or struggle. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, shutting down, or having an outburst, your child can learn to experience their emotions, express themselves, and regulate their reactions. They’ll discover the skills they need to stay connected to their body during hard times and to make calm and clear choices about how they want to respond. Their ability to modulate and attach to themselves creates the foundation for behavioral changes.


Parent involvement is a key part of the Intensive Play Therapy process. You are the most important members of your child’s support team, and you need to have the tools and insights to support their progress outside of their therapy sessions. We will hold parent consultations and will work together throughout the course of the intensive therapy. This is truly a journey for both the child and the parents, and I’m here for both of you.


Intensive Play Therapy is time-limited and we will determine our start and end dates. It typically consists of 2 or 3 days of meetings a week. At the end of the intensive therapy course, we will evaluate the progress that has been made towards your child’s goals and will assess whether further therapy is needed—either in an intensive or weekly play therapy format.

If you’d like to learn more about Intensive Play Therapy for your child, please reach out to join the waitlist. I look forward to connecting with you and working together to help your child through their challenges.

 
Cherry Tree

Are you ready for a change?

If so, I would love to connect with you and your child. I am wait-listing potential clients. Please use the ‘Join Waitlist’ button below and I will contact you with next steps.

 
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