Play therapy

Sometimes adults think children are too young to understand their life experiences. However, children of all ages are shaped by
their experiences, many of which are beyond their control. They may not understand what has happened to them, but they are significantly affected by it.

When these experiences are traumatic, difficult to understand, abusive or involve relationship attachments, the child may struggle to cope. Children often express these experiences in “difficult” behaviours. These early experiences can shape the child and, if not resolved, impact into adulthood.

Play therapy at Anglican Family Care uses a child-centred approach which means that the play is led by the child. In our playroom the child will find an acceptance of them just the way they are, a deep respect for their ability to know what they need to do to address and repair themselves, and a genuine love of play and children by our therapist.

It is this combination that facilitates a safe therapeutic relationship, through which the child can begin to explore the issues they struggle with, to repair, and to regulate their behaviour.

Through the use of toys, and creative mediums such as art, sand, clay, sensory exploration, music and drama the child will be facilitated to “play” through their issues. The child will not be hurried in their play; it is at their pace, allowing for deep emotional work to take place.

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We see the attachment relationships of the child as an essential part of their wellbeing. We will work separately with the child, or child and parent/caregiver in the form of play sessions to repair and strengthen a child’s attachment. Children come for a weekly session for a minimum of three months, which is frequently extended, depending on the child and their needs.

Our play therapy service is available in Dunedin and is suitable for children or adults, and we can work with both. All services are free.

For more information please call 0800 FAM CARE or 03 477 0801 or email enquiries@familycare.org.nz