Children face emotional challenges in life, much in the same way as adults, but because they have not fully developed, many children are unable to talk about what they feel. The younger the child, the more limited their ability to use words to process their emotions and make sense of things that have happened. Instead, children use the language of symbols while they play to understand what they feel, think, and how to relate to the world in which they live. Lighthouse specializes in play and expressive therapy in a warm, safe environment where children can process, integrate and release emotions, memories, and traumas that may be creating difficulty in their lives.
Play therapy is an appropriate support for most challenges and difficulties because the focus in therapy is always on the whole person of the child as opposed to their behaviour or difficulty. Rachael’s style of expressive therapy is a process of connecting to one’s true self and becoming more regulated. Research and experience show that play therapy has been helpful with concerns such as:
- anxiety and worries
- withdrawal, sadness, depression
- aggression, acting out
- difficulties with impulse control
- tantrums, uncontrollable emotions
- distractibility, school challenges, adhd
- trauma (for example: car accidents, abuse, neglect, injury)
- grief and loss
- behaviours or anxiety associated with autism spectrum disorders
- hard to diagnose challenging behaviour
The way that we often notice that children are experiencing difficulty is by changes in their behaviour and how well they manage their emotions. There are sometimes changes in mood, eating patterns, sleeping, they may have nightmares, or new fears of things that were previously accepted, the child may show clinginess or have separation anxiety. Children express what they have experienced and what is affecting them using the language of play. Through play, children make sense of past experiences, practice difficult current circumstances, and try out solutions for the future. Play is the language of children and a play therapist is specially trained to work with children using the symbolic language of play.