Watching your child struggle is something every parent eventually faces. Supporting your child through life's challenges is something you were ready for. Knowing when to seek professional support may feel more uncertain. It takes wisdom to know when your child needs the help of a psychologist and courage to reach out and find someone you trust to build a realtionship with your child. At Eckert Centre our passion is to join you in helping your child, offering skilled support when they need it most.
See our therapeutic techniques and options for your child below.
Dr. Garry Landreth, one of the greatest teachers and leaders in the field of play therapy and author of The Art of the Relationship, has said that play relieves stress, enhances connections in relationships, stimulates creative expression and exploration, and helps us regulate our emotions. Dr. Landreth has gone on to explain that in play therapy the toys in the play room are the child’s words and the play itself is the child’s language.
Play therapists are trained to understand the language of play.
Another of our most revered leader, trainer and supervisor in the field of play therapy is Eliana Gil. Gil has explained, that play therapists use play therapy in a strategic way to assist children in the process of expressing whatever may be bothering them through the play.
Research shows that play therapy is indeed effective for children experiencing a wide range of challenges that range across the realm of social, emotional, and behavioral issues. Children facing life stressors and major transitions are able to heal, integrate and grow in the play room with a trained play therapist.
5 things parents may find helpful to understand how and why play therapy works:
- Play is the natural language for children through which they explore, express and experience. We are trained in knowing how to meet them there and speak their language so we can understand what is happening for them that they may otherwise not be able to express verbally.
- Children act out what is bothering them metaphorically in their play. We know how to see these metaphors and we know how to facilitate experiences in the play room that help children naturally resolve what is bothering them.
- Play therapy has been shown by research to be the most effective way to connect with children therapeutically and provide them a means to heal and grow.
- Play is a natural stress reliever. When children get to play they are able to release stress and this helps them regulate their emotions.
- Play is a way for children to bond and connect with others.
In Art therapy, a child is assisted by the art therapist, to use art materials to explore and express thoughts and feelings through creativity. The goal of art therapy is to support the healing process and improve a child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.
What can art therapy do?
Art offers a visual language and meaningful form of communication for children, partiulalry when making sense of their own experiences and challenges. Through the process of creating art and working with an art therapist, a child can:
- Explore their feelings
- Process emotional conflicts
- Build self-awareness and increase self-esteem
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Celebrate strengths and enhance natural coping capacities
- Safely confront difficult topics through metaphor and symbolism
- Enhance problem-solving, improvisation, flexibility, and mastery; and
- Address the challenges that brought them to therapy.
What if my child is not artistic?
It is important to note that no artistic skills are required! Art therapy is not about creating beautiful final products or museum-worthy masterpieces. Instead, the focus is on the child's process, which (just like life) can be messy, awkward, and outside our comfort zone. Ultimately, however, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Trying new materials, discovering interesting techniques, learning more about oneself, and confronting difficult life circumstances is all part of growth.
Has your child or adolescent experienced early trauma (e.g., abuse, neglect, bullying, accidents, etc.) and is having difficulty coping? Maybe they are experiencing feelings of anger, guilt, powerlessness, depression, anxiety, numbness, sleep problems, concentration problems, or extreme physical and emotional responses as a result of these traumatic experiences or reminders of these experiences (i.e., triggers).
Trauma Focused-CBT is a short-term (16-25 sessions), evidence-based intervention that incorporates cognitive-behavioural therapy and family therapy with trauma-sensitive approaches to help children, adolescents, and their families overcome the negative impacts of traumatic experiences. The role of the therapist is to work collaboratively with the child and family to address their unique needs. TF-CBT teaches children and their caregivers about the impact of trauma; helps children and their caregivers identify and manage difficult emotions in a healthier way; helps children and families identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, challenge/modify those beliefs, and implement healthier behaviours; helps children and their caregivers to talk with each other about the traumatic experiences; and helps families develop skills for optimizing their children’s emotional and behavioural adjustment.