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.
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.