Overcoming the Trauma of Divorce

Whether a divorce is amicable or full of hostility, children are always affected. The safety of your child’s home has been compromised. All they knew has been blown apart leaving shrapnel of trauma in their tiny mind now full of questions and doubt. Through the use of play therapy for trauma, a child therapist can help your child recover from this broken situation.

child therapist

How Divorce Affects Your Child

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say, “Kids are resilient. They’ll be fine.” Although it is true that kids do have an innate ability to adapt better than adults, it does not mean they are immune to the effects of trauma. A child may have difficulty expressing their emotions. In these cases, it is important to recognize behaviors that could indicate symptoms of the trauma they have experienced. The list below outlines only a few signs and symptoms that could indicate that it’s time for you to meet with a child therapist.

  • Changes in sleep patterns.
  • A good student who is now receiving failing grades.
  • Increased anger and/or fighting.
  • Flashbacks or nightmares of parents fighting.
  • Hesitancy to enter the house because they relive abuse they have seen or hurtful words their mom and dad yelled at each other.
  • Blaming themselves for the divorce.
  • Experimenting with substances or substance abuse.

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is not uncommon, especially when a child heard fighting or saw abuse. Play therapy for trauma is a proven effective method to help children heal from the devastating effects they are experiencing.

Play Therapy at Garrett

Children struggle the most within the first two years of divorce. We have skilled child therapists ready to help through play therapy and other methods. We do all we can to ensure a path to healing at Garrett while working through their feelings and emotions. Don’t delay in getting your child the help they deserve! Contact us here for your online or in-person appointment, or call (256) 239-5662 today!


How Play Therapy for Trauma Helps

Kids love to play. They may not love to talk to an adult about what has traumatized them. That’s where play therapy comes in. Play therapy for trauma is an effective method of therapy to help children deal with their healing. While your child plays, our therapist gains insight and eases your child to the other side of their trauma while having fun.

play therapy for trauma

What is Play Therapy

The first recorded use of play therapy was in 1909 by Anna Freud. Using this method, Freud was able to build a rapport with the child and bring subconscious thoughts to the surface. Using toys and games, a child uses their imagination to reenact scenarios they’ve seen or experienced. When this play is structured, the therapist is able to target specific circumstances surrounding the child’s traumatic experience. As the therapist gets to know your child, they will tailor the sessions to include specific games or other creative play to target specific needs or goals. Talk therapy in combination with play therapy for trauma is an excellent strategy to help your child work through the aftermath of trauma.

But How Does it Work?

Play therapy sounds great for my child, but how does it actually work? Great question! We don’t just put your child in a room to play. The counselor structures play with purpose. Depending on the child, it may take a session (or few) to build a trusting relationship with their counselor. As trust grows, your child will become more comfortable and express more thoughts and feelings. Many things can be accomplished through play therapy, but we’ll touch on just a few here in this list:

  • Your child can develop creative solutions.
  • Learn how to accept themselves.
  • Express emotion.
  • Discover social skills.

Play at Garrett

Our team at Garrett Counseling has the experienced professionals your child needs to help them work through their trauma with play therapy. Schedule your appointment today through our online form here, or call (256) 239-5662. For your convenience, we offer services in Jacksonville, Boaz and Huntsville.


Understanding Adolescents Play Therapy

When left to their own devices, children act out their innermost feelings and emotions through creative play and is well-known as a method of counseling for young children. Surprisingly to many, adolescents play therapy is still quite effective. As children grow into their tween and early teen years, their type of play may change. Instead of being fantasy-based it becomes more structured. That simply means that the therapist must understand and utilize different techniques.

adolescent play therapy

Defining Play Therapy

If you’re not familiar with play therapy, the Association of Play Therapy defines play therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”

How it Applies to a Tween or Young Teen

Creative skills and abstract thinking are beginning to develop in an adolescent mind. Some pre-teens still enjoy dressing up and pretending to be a particular character or person. Some of our adolescent clients find games entertaining. When incorporating adolescent play therapy, our skilled therapists can use games of any sort to face challenging issues.

Board games, card games, and  other therapeutic activities are helpful in dealing with issues of self-esteem, self-control, anxiety, depression, coping skills, aggression, social skills, as well as many more areas of concern. Sand tray therapy is another great way for adolescents to act out their thoughts without feeling judged. Using miniature figurines, they can paint a picture of their issues in an environment without pressure.

Therapy Can Help Your Adolescent

Whether your child is struggling with making friends, behavioral issues, or has experienced trauma, therapy is an effective tool that can help. Play therapy may be especially helpful because the child has fun and feels like they in a safe environment. This makes them more likely to open up about what they are experiencing, feeling, or thinking. Additionally, facing challenges is less scary when they’re having fun.

Our skilled therapists will provide a safe environment for your child. Let their creativity run wild with an experienced counselor they can trust. At Garrett Counseling, our trained professionals have years of experience in adolescent play therapy. Call us today at (256) 239-5662 or click here to complete the online form.


Utilizing Play Therapy in Counseling

The thought of taking your child to a counselor can be a bit scary. Play therapy is a unique approach that our skilled experts use to interact with your child. This method utilizes the natural abilities your child has in expressing themselves to resolve conflict through play.

play therapy

What is Play Therapy?

Children do not always possess the capability of being able to express their emotions. In play therapy we give the child some toys and allowed to play freely during their session. As they interact with the items they choose, a counselor gains insight into underlying issues that may be related to their behavior. This allows the counselor to then begin exploring emotions with your child and dealing with any unresolved trauma. To the untrained eye, play therapy simply looks like a normal part of a child’s day. To a trained therapist, it can be a wealth of  insightful information.

Benefits of Play Therapy

Play Therapy International states that 70% of children are helped through the use of evidence-based practices such as play therapy. Fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and language are a few of the benefits that result from this approach. Other benefits include the following:

  • Developing problem-solving skills
  • Discovering coping mechanisms
  • Self-respect
  • Improved social skills
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Respect for others
  • Learning to take responsibility for their own actions

At first, your child may be apprehensive when meeting with the counselor. As they spend time together, trust will begin to grow. Inevitably, once we’ve established trust, your child will become more creative in their play and increasingly verbal.

Adjunct Therapy

This specific method of treatment for your child is intended to work alongside any medications or other treatments if necessary, not replace them. To better serve you and your family, we offer in-person appointments in three locations, Boaz, Huntsville, and Jacksonville. Although we do still offer teletherapy visits, we don’t generally recommend them for pediatric appointments. Contact us today by filling out the confidential online form or calling  (256) 239-5662.



One day, as Duncan was getting ready to color in class, he opened his box of crayons only to find a stack of written letters. One by one he opens the letters and begins to read. To his surprise the letters are from the crayons! Letter after letter, color after color, Duncan acknowledges each complaint. But what were the crayons complaining about? Each one had a feeling of being overworked , underworked,unappreciated, and/or misused. Duncan came up with a plan and decided to color one big picture using every color to its best abilities. The Picture was so unique and beautiful that Duncan’s teacher gave him an A+ for creativity.

Activity: Each crayons expresses a different feeling or emotion in the book. Grab a blank paper and go over each individual crayons complaints in the book. Have a conversation with your child about what the crayon is feeling, why it feels that way, and how to resolve those feelings. Then have the child draw the emotions with that specific color or a picture of choice. You can even have them act out a time where they felt the same way, helping to build empathy.Continue Reading


Pursue Play Therapy | Garrett Counseling | Huntsville AL

More and more counselors are turning to play therapy in their practices. At Garrett Counseling, we are experts in play therapy and utilize the method regularly.Continue Reading


About Play Therapy | Garrett Counseling | Huntsville AL

Oftentimes, what we discover in our conversations with parents is that they do not fully understand what play therapy is or how it may benefit their child. We want to help parents be better equipped to make decisions and help their children.

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