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Play Therapy Specialist

Southlake Counseling

Mental Health Counseling & Psychologists/Therapists located in Davidson, NC & Charlotte, NC

While less common, children also experience mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Kimberly Krueger, MSW, LCSW, and the team at Southlake Counseling in Charlotte and Davidson, North Carolina, provide customized therapy for children and adolescents, including play therapy and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health or behavior, call Southlake Counseling or make an appointment online today.

Play Therapy

What is play therapy?

Play therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses play to help children express their thoughts and emotions freely in a safe and judgment-free environment. Play therapy is most often for children aged 3-12, although therapists sometimes use the techniques with teenagers and adults. 

Play therapy takes place in a child-friendly environment with a variety of toys for children to use. The therapist imposes few rules or limitations on the child and encourages them to express themselves, make decisions, and be creative. This allows the therapist to observe how the child makes decisions and choices, as well as their style of play. Play therapy helps children learn to express themselves and develop their problem-solving skills. 

What happens during play therapy?

Play therapy begins with you and the therapist having a detailed conversation about your child and a session for the therapist to meet with your child. These assessments help your therapist choose the best approach to help your child. 

Play therapy usually involves weekly sessions that last 30-45 minutes. The therapist encourages your child to use tools that allow them to be creative and express themselves. Depending on your child’s needs, their therapist might use nondirective play (limited instruction), directive play therapy (more therapist input), or a combination of approaches to help your child.

Play therapy is an excellent option for children who don’t have the verbal communication skills to express themselves clearly. The therapist may incorporate dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) into your child’s therapy to help them develop skills to regulate their emotions, cope with stress, and choose healthy behaviors.

What signs indicate that my child might need therapy?

Every parent wants their child to feel content and have the skills they need to deal with adversity and thrive. However, like adults, children can develop mental health conditions that interfere with their quality of life. Signs that your child might benefit from therapy include:

  • Decreased confidence and self-image
  • Problems in multiple areas of life like with school, peers, or family
  • Excessive worry
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Increased negative or disruptive behaviors
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Repetitive, self-destructive behavior
  • Talks about suicide or makes comments like “no one would notice if I ran away”

You know your child best, and if you’re concerned about changes in their mood, behavior, or personality, the team at Southlake Counseling can help. Call or make an appointment online today to explore play therapy and other methods.