Children who struggle to communicate will have more opportunity to explore their feelings and emotions through a new counselling service focused on play.
Local woman Raine Telford has opened Bundaberg Play Therapy, a safe space that swaps out the sofa discussion for a colourful playroom to encourage fun interaction.
Raine said play therapy was a form of person-centred counselling which supported children aged two to 12 years old.
“Children learn to understand the world and their place in it through play, so while it may look like any ordinary playtime, children’s play therapy is much more than that,” she said.
“It’s where children are free to act out their inner feelings and deepest emotions.
“This is done through play as children often do not have the verbal skills to articulate their problems to an adult and therefore the child can’t adequately express themselves in the adult world.”
Raine has lived in Bundaberg for the past seven years and, as a mother of four with an extensive background in family support services, said she had a passion for helping children.
“During my career I have worked in NGO’s and for Government agencies in teaching, child protection and mental health services,” she said.
“I have a passion for working with children and their families to support them to be as happy and healthy as they can be.”
Play therapy opens the room to communication for children
Raine said in play therapy, a therapist joins the child in their world to observe and gain insight into a child's problems.
“Children can use the toys as symbols to share their feelings and play out their experiences,” Raine said.
“The therapist can then help the child explore emotions and deal with unresolved trauma.
“The child is not pressured to talk or answer questions but is supported through their play to express themselves in their own time when they are ready.”
Raine said through play children could learn new coping mechanisms and how to redirect inappropriate behaviours.
She said play therapy could also help with many worries that children might face such as problem behaviours in school, family issues like divorce, separation, or death of a close family member and more.
“Play therapy can happen weekly or fortnightly for 45 minutes and there is feedback to the parents every four to six weeks about what is happening in the play room,” Raine said.
“The cost is $110 per session including parent interview sessions or NDIS plans can be used to access the service.”
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