Christine utilizes play therapy with children between the age of 4 and 12. She initially schedules an intake interview with the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) in order to obtain background information relating to the presenting problem or concern. An appointment to begin play therapy with the child is made thereafter.

Play therapy appointments are usually scheduled for the same time each week in order to provide the child with a routine and sense of structure. Parent(s) or guardian(s) are provided with feedback after the first few therapy sessions and may be requested to assist their child with homework activities.

Christine offers play therapy in order to address concerns related to:

     •  Adapting to new situations (such as a
         new school or family arrangement)
     •  Attention deficit disorder or attention-
         hyperactivity disorder
     •  Behavioural problems (such as
         aggression, bullying, stealing or
     •  Discipline and parental guidance
     •  Fear and anxiety
     •  Learning difficulties
     •  Making friends
     •  Nightmares
     •  Self-concept and self-esteem
     •  Shyness
     •  Symptomatic behaviour (such as
         stomach aches, headaches,
         depression or bed-wetting)
     •  Grief and loss
     •  Trauma (such as divorce, sexual
         molestation or a hijacking)

What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy allows children to utilize their natural means of expression, namely play, to assist them in coping with emotional stress or trauma. Games, toys and mediums such as clay, drawings and paint are used to help children express their emotions, thoughts, wishes and needs. Rather than having to explain what is troubling them (as an adult usually would), children make use of play in order to communicate at their own level, without feeling interrogated or threatened.

When should I bring my child for play therapy?

It is very important that emotional and behavioural problems are dealt with at an early stage. If left untreated these problems may cause a child and their family a great deal of distress. If a child does not understand their behaviour or have control over it, it can cause fear and break down confidence. This can impact on other areas of life, such as the ability to complete tasks and schoolwork, to make friends and to deal with stress.

Signs to be aware of:

     •  Excessive anger, worry, sadness or fear
     •  Aggressive behaviour towards self or
     •  Separation anxiety
     •  Excessive shyness
     •  Behavioural regression
     •  Low self-esteem
     •  Learning or other school problems
     •  Sleep, eating or elimination problems
     •  Preoccupation with sexual behaviour
     •  Difficulty adjusting to family changes
     •  Physical symptoms such as headaches
         or stomach aches that have no
         medical cause

If you find that your child displays strange, uncharacteristic behaviour (such as being aggressive, destructive or withdrawn) after a specific stressful event (such as divorce, starting at a new school, the birth of a sibling or the death of a loved one) and this behaviour lasts for at least two weeks, it is recommended that you seek professional help. This behaviour may be an indication that your child is not able to deal with and express what he or she is experiencing or feeling.

How long will therapy last?

The duration of therapy is often dependent on the child's personality, the nature of the bond between child and therapist and the nature of the problem. Some children are very shy and need a lot of encouragement to express their feelings and thoughts, while others are more willing to talk. Children who have been hurt badly by adults might be apprehensive and may need a long time to trust someone and feel free to express themselves. Some children have developed clever ways to avoid thinking about their feelings because this process is too painful. They may need time to feel safe, to break down their barriers and to build the courage needed to deal with their emotions and the painful events in their lives.

In general, a child or adolescent usually attends therapy for a minimum of six sessions. This provides the child and the therapist with sufficient time to build a relationship of trust and to have time to discover more about the child’s thoughts and feelings. The child will then become more comfortable expressing him or herself and be open to discussing potential solutions.

How will my child benefit from play therapy?

Play Therapy offers some of the following benefits:

     •  It provides a safe space for emotional
     •  Children learn how to express their
         thoughts and feelings in constructive
     •  It fosters decision-making and
         acceptance of responsibility
     •  It facilitates the development of
         problem-solving, coping skills and
     •  It helps children to explore and
         practise social skills
     •  It helps children to make friends and
         learn about their ever expanding world
     •  It allows children to learn from
         mistakes safely
     •  It encourages confidence and
     •  It fosters imagination and creativity
     •  It supports emotional healing and

Adapted from:
©Copyright 2018 Christine Slabbert
©Copyright 2016 Christine Darney
HPCSA Number:       PS 0119733
Practice Number:     0524980
HPCSA Number:       PS 0119733
Practice Number:     0524980