Frequently asked questions
“Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts, and souls meet”- Virginia Axline
Play is essential to the optimal brain development of a child and at the same time, it is also critical for adults who had experienced traumatic events in allowing them to express and communicate via different mediums (e.g. art, sandtray, puppets, etc.) symbolically where words could not be articulated.
Play is a natural process that:
- Builds trust and mastery
Fosters learning and acceptable behaviours
Promotes creative thinking and problem-solving
Encourages open communication
Elevates spirit and self-esteem
Why Play Therapy?
Research suggests Play Therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender or the nature of the issue and works best when a parent, family member or primary caregiver is actively involved in the process.
“In Play Therapy, the most troubling problems can be confronted and lasting resolutions can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered and become lifelong strategies” – Sandra Russ, Ph.D.
Play Therapy is a powerful tool for addressing cognitive, behavioural, and emotional challenges. Trained professionals therapeutically use play to help clients better process their experiences and develop more effective strategies for managing their worlds.
Play Therapy is used as a primary intervention or supportive therapy in schools, hospitals, organisations for:
- Behavioural issues caused by bullying, grief and loss, divorce and abandonment, physical and sexual abuse, crisis and trauma
Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, academic and social concerns, physical and learning disabilities and conduct disorders
Each child, adolescent and individual is unique and hence a wide variety of materials and toy are available including puppets, a miniature doll house, sandtray, props for drama and art supplies.
What happens in a Play Therapy Session?
The therapist will conduct an intake and assessment session with the parents and/or with the primary caregiver or with the adult seeking assistance. Questions pertaining to early development, current functioning and concerns/issues would be asked. This would assist the therapist in having an initial understanding of the difficulties and struggles as well as conceptualise an initial treatment plan.
There will be a parent-child observation assessment that will take place, which would require both parent and child to be engaged in various activities. This would allow the therapist to ascertain and build on the strengths of the family system, along with providing parents and caregivers with additional tools that would help the child when they are back in the home environment outside of the therapy sessions.
Session 3 onwards
The child would then be involved with the therapist in individual sessions comprising of assessment and treatment. This will be the time where the child would be getting used to the therapist, playroom and the play therapy process. The therapist will also be concurrently working with the parents through frequent updates and parent coaching sessions that will seek to equip and empower the family system as a whole.
What is Play Therapy?
The Association for Play Therapy (USA) defines play therapy as "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development."
More simply put, child play therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child – play. Therapists use play to help their clients, age ranging from 3 years upwards, including adults, to better express themselves and resolve their problems. Play Therapy works best when a safe relationship is created between the therapist and client, one in which the latter may freely and naturally express both what pleases and bothers them.
Research suggests Play Therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem, and works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process.
Types and approaches of play therapy.
Play Therapy is the generic overarching term, of which comprise numerous approaches.
For example, under the term "clothing" there are different styles, categories, and brands to suit different purposes and occassions. Similarly Play Therapy approaches are numerous, and many organisations and therapists have different approaches, with different methods, ethics, boudaries, with widely varying results.
Amongst the main differences, there are directive and non-directive approaches, of which differentiate how much a therapist directs a client during the session.
At Healing Hearts, we papply tje TraumaPlayTM as the ideal approach, being integrative and prescriptive, with its well balanced ethical, neurological, and emotional standpoint that delivers a pleasant, wholesome, and progressive experience for the clients and any family members involved.
Our Introduction to Play Therapy Course will give you a comprehensive overview of the different Play Therapy approaches, their characteristics, and benefits. If you are wanting to become a play therapist, and are undecided on the direction to embark on, this is the course for you to make an informed decision.
Being aware of which approach suits you best, helps you to save costs and focus in on what works best for you and most importantly, your future clients.
Are online counselling sessions offered?
Yes, we do offer online sessions, especially with the current pandemic situation, and government regulations regarding safe distancing.
All our sessions are securely encrypted, and conducted in a safe and private space. You will also need to find a quiet space where you are able to log into the system and share freely within that space.
What is counselling?
Counselling is a process where you are able to share your issues and concerns, increase self-awareness and gain insight into the cause along with understanding and applying ways to manage, cope and to overcome so as to see positive change take place. It involves using different approaches and techniques that seeks to see resolution and healing take place.
What is the counselling process like?
1. Intake Session - A professional counsellor-client relationship always begins with an intake session where our counsellors seeks to find out what your issues and concerns are, and then collaboratively work out a treatment goal together with the client
2. Counselling Session - Through various approaches and interventions, each session is specifically focused in moving you towards achieving the treatment goal.
3. Review Session - Once all goals have been achieved, you should no longer need sessions as often. You are encouraged to come for a check in periodically, or if an issue or concern resurfaces, you may choose to resume sessions.
What is the difference between seeing a counsellor, Psychologist, and a Psychiatrist?
Counsellor - Is a trained professional who works with individuals, couples or families to help them better understand their social and psychological needs, along with helping them to develop skills in managing, coping and overcoming their issues
Psychologist - Is a trained professional who provides psychological assessments along with dealing with emotional and mental well-being issues
Psychiatrist - Is a medical doctor by training, who specialises in Psychiatry. Is able to prescribe medication and provides an official medical diagnosis.
Trauma Play Training
What is TraumaPlay? Why does Healing Hearts use it?
TraumaPlay is a play therapy approach created by Paris Goodyear-Brown with its roots based on attachment theory. TraumaPlay, along with evidence based interventions serve as the bedrock for all services at Healing Hearts Centre, and provides the scaffolding for different strategies used within therapy. It also encourages parents to always be asking the question: "What is the need underlying the behavior?"
Play therapy approaches, sand tray approaches and other expressive arts approaches (visual art, puppetry, music, drama and storytelling) allow children to dance towards and away from the trauma content as needed, while retelling the trauma, integrating sensory content, creating coherent narrative, and practicing new skills. When children have anxiety specific symptoms, they may engage in a course of treatment that integrates a play-based exposure/response prevention protocol.
Healing Hearts Distinction
Do all counselors and therapists treat people the same?
If you are someone seeking therapy and had a bad experience with a previous therapist elsewhere, be rest assured that every organiation and therapist is unique to their approach and practice.
At Healing Hearts, you can be assured of being treated the best, especially during difficult times. Our therapists are highly empathatic and professional, ensuring that you get the best help.
Some simple basics available include a quiet and comfortable room, with clean and pleasant amenities.
Does Healing Hearts offer therapy session packages?
At Healing Hearts, we understand that therapy for each person is unique to them and their situation. Hence we do not offer any packages that either guarantee a result within any fixed number of sessions, nor lock you in to a number of sessions even before you get started.
We do this because we understand that there are many factors involved, and your prioritise your comfort during the process above our profits. If you would like to take a longer break from sessions, see another therapist, or stop seeing one altogether, the decision is in your hands, and we respect that.
Ultimately, it is good news that you no longer need to come back and see us for your issue, meaning that you are now able to live life well, without the need to keep coming back to a therapist, and we always work toward that goal for every client.
Some clients have decided to come back on a scheduled basis for check-ins, just to make sure they are all good emotionally and have kept up with where they left off when they completed their therapy, and if you should appreciate that you may do so too.
You are never pressured to come back to us for sessions, and you decide if and when you want make your next appointment with us.
Do your counsellors provide an official assessment or diagnosis for submission to schools?
No, we do not. Official assessments and diagnosis can be done with psychiatrists or psychologists who are certified to provide such services.