Mon - Fri: 9:00a - 6:00p
Sat- By Appointment, Closed On Sunday, Evening Appointments Available

Play Therapy

Play therapy is a technique which allows children to express themselves in the form of play. Play therapy techniques can be used for a variety of diagnoses in children, including trauma, reactive attachment disorder, social anxieties, anger, and with family systems problems. As a therapist, play therapy allows me to get a better understanding of what children may be feeling about their lives.

Before play therapy begins, MRL Counseling meets with the parent and child to do a full diagnostic assessment on the child getting as complete of history as possible using family members, school records and performance evaluation, and a review of all medical history that is deemed relevant to the family and child’s situation. If the child is in school, clinician may ask permission to be in contact with the child’s teacher(s) or school guidance counselor.
There are no timeframe on play therapy treatment or outcomes. Each child is different. That’s why at MRL Counseling I tailor my approach to the child’s individual needs. My personal approach involves heavy doses of patience, as I believe that it is important not to rush children receiving this form of therapy and to let play therapy unfold organically in its own time. 

Some of the techniques I may utilize are using art, playing with a sand tray, allowing the child to free play, using a doll, or family figures. For example, in situations where a child is grieving the loss of a loved one, the play may take the form of asking the child to draw of their family or to do some imaginative play around the events surrounding the loved one’s death, perhaps by re-enacting a funeral using a sand tray. With older children, just playing a card game together with the child can help the child develop the level of comfort with me to start talking about what is bothering him or her. At this point, I may ask some open-ended questions but remain very cautious about allowing the child to lead the conversation and to share as much as he or she feels comfortable within his or her own time.
I often find it valuable to just observe the child’s play, since play can allow the child to express his or her feelings freely. In such situations my goal is often to repeat back to the child what the child has said, allowing the child to express him or herself and to develop greater confidence that he or she is being heard and understood. I may also use play therapy to help prepare children for being in a courtroom or having to talk to a judge. By utilizing a model courtroom and play-based scenarios, I can better help the child prepare for the experience in a less-intimidating way.

If you have any other questions about our approach to play therapy, please feel free to contact MRL Counseling.
With kindness, compassion, and experience, we want to help you.
9442 W. Fairview Ave. Boise, ID.