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.
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?
- Excessive clinginess/fear of separating from parent
- Excessive anxiety around other adults/children
- General/specific anxiety or traumatic experiences
- Ongoing complaints of headaches, stomach aches
- Behavioural issues at kinder/home
- Anger management challenges
- Attention/hyperactivity challenges
- Limit setting/discipline challenges
- Fussy eating behaviours
- Night time fears
- Communication challenges
- Life transition challenges
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.
Evrim Ulusoy is a psychologist at Hopscotch and Harmony, and her work involves play-based therapeutic interventions with preschool aged and primary school aged children. Evrim provides a supportive and engaging environment for children to share their challenges and the impact on their personal wellbeing and relationships. Call 9741 5222 to make an appointment with Evrim at Hopscotch & Harmony's Werribee practice.