Episode 10 “Lessons from the Playroom” Podcast: Helping Parents Explain to their Child Why They are Going to Play Therapy

Be Yourself--authentic therapist in the playroom


Talking to kids about why they are going to play therapy isn’t always easy.  As play therapists, we can work with parents to help them find a clear explanation that helps soothe their child’s potential anxiety and helps minimize apprehension. Not only does it teach kids what to expect, but it also helps the parent get on board.

1:00 Lisa introduces Ashley, a play therapist in practice for a year

1:30 Parents often ask, “What do I tell my kid about coming to play therapy?”

2:07 Helping parents find the words that allow their children to understand the process

3:00 Why is it important to give parents options?

3:20 Using the term “special playtime” instead of therapy

3:40 The words used to explain therapy don’t matter as much as the energy behind the words

4:11 Will a child pick up on a parent’s anxiety?

5:05 Guiding parents through their own guilt and shame

5:25 How can we help children understand therapy as a gift and a chance for growth?

5:50 All children deserve a play therapy experience

6:24 Play therapy can help children learn who they are separate from mom and dad

7:05 The importance of informality

8:20 Will kids know that something is different about this play?

9:05 How can we help parents explain the role of the therapist?

9:55 The fear of the unknown and why it’s important to link play therapy to familiarity

10:25 Can pictures be useful in helping a hesitant child?

12:00 Should we bring parents into the playroom?

12:38 Why is it important to create safety for a flooded child?

13:15 Explaining the phone call to kids

13:50 Is meeting parents face to face more conducive to the process?

15:05 Parental playtime: “Mommy has questions about what she can do to be the best parent.”

16:30 Is play therapy just about kids or is it equally about the parents too?

17:00 Play therapy isn’t about something the child did wrong

18:18 The importance of empowering parents

18:40 Trusting your therapeutic instincts

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