Thought i’d take a moment to answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that I hear in my practice.
1. What is play therapy? Play therapy is a modality of treatment most commonly used for children aged 2-12 for assessing and treating mental distress. Play is a child’s first language (think of an infant cooing at you as communication, playing peek-a-boo, and learning to play toss); when needing to work through issues it can be the most effective avenue. Play therapy requires a clinician who is highly trained and adept at interpreting and communicating to the child in the language of play. Play therapy is less threatening to the child than traditional therapy can be.
2. What is dialectical behavioral therapy?
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of treatment for serious mental health problems that typically include maladaptive patterns of behavior such as self harm. DBT is typically recommended for clients who have not had success in former attempts at healing. DBT requires weekly therapy with a highly trained clinician, weekly skills training classes, daily diary card recording, and the availability of phone coaching 24/7.
3. What’s the process of beginning therapy?
When a minor is starting therapy, I request that the parents or guardians attend a session first, without the minor present. This is for several reasons: ensure the therapist and family will be a good fit, allow the parent the ability to discuss family issues without causing conflict at the first session, and process/discuss paperwork issues. For sessions 2-4 I prefer to work with the minor child 1:1 to build rapport, trust, and identify their areas for growth. Over the following sessions, I advise working with the child and family together; however keeping the child/therapist relationship paramount.
If the client is an adult, the processes is different and yet the same. For the first session we will work together to process and discuss paperwork issues, determine that the relationship is a good fit, and discuss background information. Over the following sessions, the focus is rapport and trust building, deciding on treatment modalities, and beginning treatment.