Stephanie McGlynn, MFT

Play Therapy for Children

I offer a safe, accepting, and fun atmosphere for children’s explorations and expressions. My office provides a large variety of toys, games, and art materials to support each child’s individual process. To establish a relationship and cater to my clients’ needs I use a variety of different play therapy techniques. Among them are pretend play, symbolic play, drawing, and story telling.

To provide the most effective treatment, I ask parents—especially of young children—to be involved in the therapeutic process. This can take the form of observing and/or participating in the child’s sessions, homework assignments, and separate consultations with me.

Rationale for Play Therapy

Most children under the age of 10 have not developed their abstract reasoning skills and verbal abilities enough to communicate on a pure verbal level. Instead of using words to describe their feelings and thoughts, children express these issues through play. Using toys comes naturally to most children and it provides them with a comfortable and familiar way to express themselves.

Children use play, toys, art, and movement as their language to process and communicate difficulties they experience. In the presence of an empathetic adult, a child can show how he/she feels through the chosen toys, materials, and actions. Children will use materials in the sessions to establish a relationship with the therapist, express their feelings, explore and/or reenact real-life relationships and experiences, test limits, improve self-understanding, and enhance self-control.

“Very young children, especially, do not want to, or need to, verbalize their discoveries and awarenesses, or ‘own’ what is expressed through play. Just by bringing those feelings, situations, and anxieties into the open, a degree of integration occurs” (V. Oaklander, 1988).

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