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.
Thank you for trusting me to partner with you in this journey. I look forward to connecting with you and your child.
Kathleen Salmon, LCSW, RPT
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.
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.
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
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?
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.