What happens when talking isn't an option?
Sometimes children and young people just don’t know, or they don’t have the words to convey what it feels like to be them - that’s where we come in.
Parents can be of use here too: we encourage them to let their child know that they understand things feel too big, that they are overwhelming, difficult to give words to, but that they want to help.
There are ways to communicate other than by talking and with young children we often use play and art in our therapy sessions.
Play is the natural means of communication for a child, it is their intuitive language and essential for growth and development, and so it is understandable that play can be used as a natural and non-threatening way for the child to express their feelings.
For the child who is unable to vocalise their thoughts, play can facilitate expression without the need for verbal explanations - it enables the child’s story to be told at their own pace.
The therapist’s role is to enable the child to express themselves through role play, art or music and using a variety of carefully chosen media which may include sand, clay, objects, toy animals or sensory materials.
Thoughts, feelings and fantasies following traumatic experiences can be played out using the child’s imagination, symbolism and metaphor. Events and past experiences can be re-enacted and repeated without the child feeling overwhelmed, or worrying about harming themselves or others.
Play in therapy can help the child through easing communication, in repairing relationships, in building resilience, confidence and a sense of being in control.
It can help the child gain a fuller sense of themselves, understanding their emotions and past experiences better.
If you would like to talk to us about supporting your child, please contact Catherine by email or call our Self-Referral hotline on 01268 947061.