Humans are biologically wired to play. Play creates feelings of joy at all ages and stages, including adulthood. Play helps us to connect with others. Play is used to safely explore the world and learn about emotions. Play supports the development of healthy nervous systems and to regulate the excitement and calming systems in our bodies.
Interested to know how therapy works with pre-schoolers?
In child centred therapy, the child is provided with a safe and supportive environment to join with the psychologist to explore challenging issues. Children express their concerns and needs and also learn helpful ways to manage emotions in therapeutic play.
What does the therapy room look like for young kids?
My therapy room includes different play sites for kids. In one corner you may notice a dollhouse and human figurines. In another corner you will find a sandtray with miniature figures such as animals. There is also paper based activities, social stories, puppets and soft toys, and other toys appropriate for sensory play, constructive play and pretend play. Most play sites are based on the floor or mats and the tables and chairs are child friendly.
What happens in the therapy room with young kids?
There are two rules in the therapy room; we will keep each other safe and we will take care of the toys in the room. Parents are welcome to the therapy room to observe play therapy techniques and to track their child’s progress in sessions with the psychologist.
Young kids are encouraged to bring their favourite toy to their initial session as a source of comfort and are free to explore the play room with curiosity and openness. In the therapy room, young kids will have the opportunity to learn about emotion expression and regulation, turn-taking and problem solving with play! Parent participation in session and between sessions is always encouraged. Mindful parenting strategies relating to the treatment goals can also be discussed and practiced in sessions.
What other sources of information can be helpful in the early stages of therapy?
Parents can bring copies of health professional reports or letters from educators to the initial parent appointment. It is valuable for the psychologist to gather information about the child’s developmental, medical and family history. The psychologist may also conduct a kinder observation to refine the treatment goal after initial information is collected with signed consent by the parent.
What are some reasons why parents may consider to make an appointment with a psychologist for their young child?
Who can I speak to so I can ask for a referral for my young child?
No referral is needed to see a psychologist. Please keep in mind that if you are interested in a service with Medicare rebates you will need to provide a signed referral letter from a paediatrician or G.P. Your child may be eligible for a Medicare rebate for up to 10 sessions per calendar year. Alternatively, your child can attend Hopscotch and Harmony as a private client.