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Play Therapy is a researched-informed model of therapy that provides a developmental approach for the child to express what might be troubling them.
"Research suggests Play Therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem, and works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process."
As adults, we express our troubles and issues in life by talking and in return, we can find support, understanding or a new perspective, however, for a child they may lack the ability or words to articulate what they feel or what is bothering them. Instead, the child acts out what is bothering them or behaves in such a way that reflects their surroundings and circumstances.
Play therapy is used as a means of communication so that children can more naturally express what is troubling them and we can more naturally support them as they sort through those difficulties and imitate appropriate ways of coping through the issues the child is dealing with.
Play therapy can help children work through and cope with anxiety, separation anxiety, depression, abandonment, divorce, grief, and behavioral issues.
What is Synergetic Play Therapy?
Synergetic Play Therapy honors both the therapeutic powers of play, the science that governs the relationship, and the development of the therapist, recognizing that it is ultimately the interplay between these three systems that support deep transformation for both therapist and child.
The word itself is also reflective of what is happening in the playroom and how integration and healing occurs. As the therapist attunes to their own internal systems and then attunes to the internal systems of the child, a union of systems occurs. In this union, a synergy forms, allowing for co-regulation to emerge. The co-regulation supports both the therapist and the child in their ability to move towards the uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that they would not have been able to move towards as easily on their own.
During this "synergy of systems", therapist and child enter something akin to a "Synergetic field' where right hemisphere to left hemisphere communication emerges, allowing for integration and transformation.
Play therapy involves providing children with a new, more proper, form of coping with stressful or anxious circumstances.
The child may have developed other means of dealing with anxiety that may not be appropriate because they haven't been modeled how to deal with anxious moments or they may have never been put into a situation that invoked such a feeling.
Such moments may include; moving to a new home, change in parents' work schedule, attending school, parents' divorce, etc.
No matter the case, play therapy is designed to help children cope, in a more productive way, when anxiety, or fear, is felt.
The method of modeling this proper behavior is done during the play with the therapist. The therapist will model the appropriate behaviors when he/she feels that the child has re-created an anxious/fearful scenario through play.