Children process their world through the language of play. Play Therapy is a counseling treatment approach that fosters communication and healing through the “language” most appropriate for children. Play Therapy honors each child’s unique developmental needs, allowing him or her to express and resolve difficulties in an environment that comes natural to them.
Healing and change can be achieved when children are in a safe relationship with a therapist and can express themselves through play. This approach fosters healing and growth for issues such as behavioral problems, grief and loss, crisis and trauma, family transition, post-divorce reactions, and much more. Play Therapy can also address difficulties such as anxiety, depression, attention deficient hyperactivity, academic and social development, autism spectrum, conduct disorders, and learning disabilities.
The Aspen Haus approach to Play Therapy is thorough and considers the developmental needs of each child along with maintaining a collaborative relationship with parents. The focus of the intake sessions is a continued conversation from the initial phone consultation. Depending on your child’s age and presenting issue, you may be asked to attend the intake session alone or with your partner. An intake session without the child present allows the parent and counselor to openly discuss the behaviors, emotions, and experiences that have brought the child into therapy, and make a plan together that adheres to the child’s therapeutic needs and goals. The counselor will also instruct the parent on how to explain therapy to the child, as well as coach the parent on various skills they can implement at home to support and enhance the therapeutic process.
With older children and teenagers, it is common to have both the parent and child present at the intake session. Parent, child, and counselor will meet together for the first 15 minutes of the session to discuss presenting issues and therapeutic goals. It is during this time that the counselor will explain the structure of counseling, boundaries of confidentiality, and gain everyone’s perspective on the presenting issue.
Keeping parents informed on their child’s therapeutic progress is essential. Every 3-4 sessions, the child’s counselor will schedule a 20-minute phone consultation with the parent to update them on general themes and observations with the child’s therapy. During this time, the counselor will gain information from the parent about how they are experiencing the child at home, answer any questions from the parent, and confirm the progress in the treatment plan. These phone consultations are at a lower rate. If the counselor perceives that they will need more than 20 minutes to give a therapeutic update, they will request the parent come in for a full, in-person session. The parent also has the freedom to schedule a full in-person session for a therapeutic update.
Aspen Haus offers Play Therapy by Registered Play Therapists (RPT) or those actively pursuing their training and requirements to become a registered play therapist.
We specialize in issues such as:
Trauma or loss
Social or academic difficulties
Sports/other performance challenges
Parent/child communication and connection
EMDR for Kids
What is EMDR for Kids?
When bad, sad, or yucky things happen to us, we have many mixed up feelings and thoughts. We do not feel good in our minds, bodies, and hearts, and the brain has a hard time putting all the pieces together of what happened. EMDR can help kids by making those bad feelings and thoughts seem small and allow more space to bring in good thoughts and feelings. Grow-ups call it Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, but kids can call it Eyes Moving to Digest and Recover (Gomez, Anna)!
When kids receive EMDR, they will move their eyes from side to side while they think about the bad, sad, or yucky things that happened. They also might hold buzzers in their hands that vibrate, or their counselor might tap their knees. This helps the brain make sense of what happened and allows the good thoughts and feelings to come in and stay.
Sometimes, yucky feelings might come up during EMDR, and your counselor will be there to help you along the way. You will learn new ways to stay calm and be strong. You and your counselor will team up together to help your brain let the good in!