• heart-centered therapy for children •
Is your child expressing extreme emotions?
- Are they having frequent tantrums throughout the week?
- Do you find that they are quick to yell or hit when things don’t go their way?
- Are they having trouble sleeping or complaining of nightmares?
- Are they having potty training issues or frequently wetting themselves?
- Have you noticed they are more withdrawn and not engaging in activities they used to find fun or interesting?
For parents and guardians it can feel confusing and frustrating when children are exhibiting behaviors that seem extreme or that we do not understand. And often it’s hard to gauge if what your child is going through is a developmental phase or something that needs further attention and support.
Children grow and develop so quickly, and with each new phase comes new ways they relate to themselves and others. As caregivers, one moment you might feel that you finally understand how to communicate and help your child and then, as if overnight, their behavior changes again and you’re left not knowing what to do or how to help. Parents and guardians are often left wondering:
- Will it be like this forever?
- Will this behavior have adverse effects on my child’s future?
- Will I ever understand what my child is feeling and know how to help them?
It is normal for children to have big emotions
Many children have periods of time when they experience and express big emotions. Children, just like adults, are acutely aware of changes and events that occur around them. Unlike adults, they don’t have the verbal capacity to express what they are feeling. As a result they often express themselves through behaviors such as, yelling, crying, hitting and sleep or potty regression.
Even if these behaviors are a normal and natural part of a child’s development, it doesn’t mean they are easy to deal with. Often children will express feeling out of control and not understanding their own reactions, wanting to stop but not knowing how. And as a parent you might feel infuriated, scared or sad to see your child going through these things. It can leave you feeling helpless and unsure where to turn for help, or even know if help is warranted.
Finding a skilled child therapist is one of the best ways, to not only help your child understand and process their experiences, but also, help you, as a parent/guardian, better understand how to support your child through their ups and downs.
Play Therapy Can Help Your Child Regulate Their Emotions
All children face challenges at some point and the Play Therapists at Louisville Family Center have dealt with the issues that many children and parents face throughout their lives. We approach every child and family with empathy and compassion, with the understanding that everyone is doing their best. And we understand that life can bring challenges which require additional support, which may come in the form of play therapy.
Play therapy is a unique experience which gives your child a space to express themselves in their own language, play. Since children do not fully express themselves using verbal language until much later in life, they often communicate through behaviors. Play is a clear way to bring context and “language” to your child’s behaviors. The therapist, trained in the language of play, takes the experience of what your child is playing and translates that experience back to you. You and your child’s therapist then become a team and work on building continued connection and understanding between you and your child.
Additionally, during weekly sessions, the therapist and child are working together to help the child better understand their emotions and learn how to support themselves when big feelings arise. Through the play therapy process your child will begin to feel fully seen and heard, and as a result they have the potential to transform their challenges into their greatest strengths and decrease their emotional outbursts.
At the Louisville Family Center we believe that the entire family is a crucial component to the therapeutic process. Your therapist will not only be working with your child, they will be working with you as well. As parents/guardians we can sometimes get so focused on the experience of our child that we forget to connect to what is happening for us. During check-ins and longer sessions, caregivers have the opportunity to see the parent/child dynamic more clearly and build awareness of their own experience during times of stress at home and in the world.
Animal Assisted Play Therapy
Meet Freyja, Christy’s animal therapy partner! She is a seven pound Maltese Poodle mix. Frejya is in the office on some of the days that Christy works. She enjoys meeting new people and either playing or sleeping during sessions. Please note that at this time, Freyja is not available for new clients – we will let you know when her availability opens back up.
Animal Assisted Play Therapy is a great way to model boundaries, examine relational patterns and experience unconditional love. Often, just Freyja’s presence in the room can put people at ease and help reduce tension.
Feel free to let us know if you are interested in having Freyja be a part of your play therapy experience!
- Your child is experiencing grief/loss or other challenging transitions in life.
- Your child is displaying outbursts, aggression, impulsiveness or struggling in school.
- Your child is having difficulty sleeping, eating or potty training.
- You or your child is experiencing depression, anxiety, isolation or other strong emotions.
- You or your child are experiencing separation anxiety, low self-esteem or relationship issues.
- You or your child find it difficult to experience fearfulness, sadness, anger or other emotions.
Become intimate with your fears. listen to them. sit cross legged. give them your undivided attention….offer them comfort. offer them rest.
– Nayyirah Waheed
You May Have More Questions
How old does my child have to be in order to benefit from child therapy?
We believe that children of any age will benefit from play therapy! Seriously, we have worked with children of all ages — from infants to teenagers. The structure of the session may look different depending on the age of your child. When you talk with your therapist they will work with you to determine the best way to support your family.
What if my child won’t agree to come or is scared about coming?
It is natural that your child (or you) might feel some hesitation about starting something new! The therapists at the Louisville Family Center understand that children might be unsure at first. If you feel this is the case for your family please talk about this during your initial consultation and your therapist will provide you with tips on how to talk about therapy with your child and also how to navigate emotions that may come up during the first session.
How does play therapy work?
A typical play therapy session is 50 minutes and is broken down into two parts. First your therapist will meet with your child in the play room for 40 minutes, and then the last 10 minutes is reserved for a parent/guardian check in. During the initial phone consultation you and your therapist will discuss in more detail what the process looks like and how it may work for your family. Please do not hesitate to ask your therapist any questions during this time.
How do I know my child is in need of therapy?
It can be hard to know if what your child is experiencing is a phase or something more serious. The way we see it, everyone can benefit from support no matter how big or small their problem may be! If you’re ever wondering if play therapy is something that you need please do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a free consultation. During that time you will connect with an experienced therapist that will listen and work with you to come up with a plan that works for your family.
I think my child needs support but I’m worried about the expense.
Play Therapy is an investment in your child and your relationship with them. By taking the time to develop a strong connection with your child now, you are potentially preventing problems that may arise in the future.
Additionally, Louisville Family Center is committed to making therapy affordable for everyone. If you cannot fit our full fee into your budget we offer a few reduced-fee slots. We can also provide you with a superbill to submit to your insurance.
You can help your child through their challenges
If you would like to talk with a play therapist to see if child therapy is something that will help your family please contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation. We will try to get back to you within 24 hours. 303-604-6373 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Call or email us to schedule a free 15 minute consultation to see if we are a good fit!
303-604-6373 • email@example.com