Children communicate naturally through play and to the trained eye they are telling us everything we need to know. The younger the child the greater the reliance on nonverbal expression, with language skills gradually building through adolescence and into young adulthood. Play therapists are uniquely educated in child and adolescent development and are therefore able to offer interventions that are specific to every client’s needs and every client’s way of communicating.
Play therapists follow each child’s lead, using non-verbal, verbal interventions or a combination of the two. In healthy development, people of every age benefit from play and from the added opportunity to communicate by “doing” as well as by “saying”. Play is an intuitive, universal form of expression that begins in childhood and continues into old age and while it may look different during different stages of life, it is a continuous outlet for growth, creativity and healing.
Creative Arts Therapies
Creative Arts therapies are based on the premise that working creatively under the guidance of a qualified therapist, clients become increasingly expressive, verbally and non-verbally. Through this, there is an awareness of self and a creation of a safe and enjoyable space from which to work towards change.
Creative therapy can include music, art, poetry, sand tray therapy, play therapy, dance, movement, or any mode of expression that a client is drawn to. Creative Arts are purposely incorporated as either a primary method of treatment or as an enhancement to talk therapy.
Sand Tray Therapy
Sand Tray Therapy is an expressive, non-verbal treatment approach that is used with children, adults, families and groups. This hands-on method involves the use of sand, water and miniature objects, representing real life and fantasy. This process allows clients to create representations of their inner and outer worlds in the safety and containment of the sand tray.
Guided by the therapist, clients make connections between the symbolic sand tray world and their thoughts, feelings and real-life experiences. Changes are made within the sand tray space that translate to intra-psychic healing, conflict resolution, behavior change and personal growth.
Group Therapy is a method of psychotherapy in which a group of children, teens or adults, with similar issues, come together to achieve emotional and behavioral growth. Being part of a group helps clients to benefit from the mutuality of their experiences and as they share information and practice new behaviors in a safe and supportive setting. By interacting with others and receiving feedback from peers, with therapist input, clients gain a deeper understanding of themselves.
Family Therapy is a form of counseling that helps family members improve communication and resolve conflict and it can be used alone or in concert with other modes of therapy. The goal of family therapy is to foster communication and to strengthen emotional connections between family members and loved ones. Family members are emotionally connected and any change in one member will be followed by reciprocal changes in every other member. With this in mind, families are often included in sessions so that positive change is supported on an individual and family level.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is an approach that focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful, distorted thoughts with the goal of improvement in emotional regulation, development of coping strategies, and positive changes in emotion and behavior. CBT helps to create an awareness of negative or inaccurate thoughts so that life challenges can be viewed with increased clarity allowing for productive responses towards problem solving and personal growth. CBT is effective in adults as well as in children and is often woven into other approaches such as Play Therapy and Creative Arts Therapies. CBT methods are easily translated from office to virtual sessions.
Used as a therapeutic technique, Mindfulness tools helps clients achieve a newfound awareness of environment, thoughts, feelings and physical sensations in a nonjudgmental way with an intentional focus on the present moment.
Mindfulness practice includes meditation, movement and breathing exercises that enhance emotional wellbeing and can be integrated into other forms of therapy used with children, teens and adults. It is the ability to stay in the present moment that creates an appreciation and acceptance of self and others with increased focus and attention and improved mood.
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a psychotherapy method that is proven to help children and adults recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences. It is commonly used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, panic disorders, phobias, depression, eating disorders, pain disorders, sleep disturbance, performance anxiety and more.
Rather than focusing on changing thoughts, emotions or behaviors, EMDR is designed to help the brain access its natural healing process to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories that have affected brain development and functioning. EMDR can be provided as an exclusive treatment protocol or as an adjunct to other therapeutic approaches aimed at lessening distressing mental health.
Perinatal Mental Health Psychotherapy
While many women experience mild mood changes before, during or following the birth of a child, many will experience symptoms that are distressing and debilitating. While postpartum depression is most known, any mental health issue can be triggered or exacerbated by pregnancy and the birth of a child, requiring specialized counseling services from therapists who are trained in perinatal and postnatal mood disorders.
Mari/Mandala Art Therapy
The Mari is a comprehensive assessment tool that uses symbols and colors in mandalas and chosen cards, to reveal inner truths. Through the use of colors, symbols and staging on a Mari board, clients are guided to intuitively see themselves without the interference of consciousness. The process is an active and creative mode of therapy that weaves the dimensions of the emotional, physical, cognitive and spiritual into a level of self awareness that is unique to this work. A certified Mari practitioner will encourage the process of self realization and formulation of goals and strategies through use of this creative and nonverbal process.