A safe place for children to process, play, learn, and grow
Utilizing age-appropriate techniques, including play therapy, Sunstone’s goal is to help children process emotions, navigate challenges, and develop coping and social skills.
Common areas addressed in child counseling include:
- Anxiety and fears
- Impulsivity and hyperactivity (ADHD)
- Separation anxiety
- Emotional and behavioral disorders
- Parental separation, divorce, or abandonment
- Trauma and loss
- Life transitions
- School refusal
Utilizing the Power of Play in Child Counseling
Our primary approach to counseling for children ages 3-12 is play therapy, where kids can express themselves in their primary mode of communication: play.
While play therapy is conducted with only the therapist and child, counselors also typically meet with parents on a regular basis to discuss treatment plans, progress, and goals.
For children, play is their world. It’s how they express themselves, build relationships, and learn about their environment. Play is a crucial piece to child development. As a parent, your role is to not only take time to connect with your child through play, but also, allow the space and opportunity for your child to play. So, why should you, as a parent, encourage play in a child?
A play therapist uses a unique skill set to connect with children through a child’s symbolic language of self-expression: play. For young children. play is developmentally and fundamentally their language to articulate and process through feelings and difficulties. It allows them to connect and achieve growth in a profound way that classic talk therapy would not be able to provide. Children communicate through play in such an amazing way; it allows and welcomes a self-healing process in which they can engage.
Access to video sessions continues to offer therapeutic connection through the child-therapist interaction as well as prioritize the unique needs of each child. Counselors working with children remotely are upholding the integrity of the therapeutic relationship and incorporating endless techniques that are supportive to each child’s growth. Learn what to expect from a virtual play therapy session and how best to prepare your child.
Play Therapy FAQs
Play therapy utilizes play, a child's natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings through toys and activities instead of (or in addition to) words.
For a child, emotions and experiences may be too overwhelming or difficult to articulate with words , but they can safely communicate them through self-chosen toys and activities.
The Association for Play Therapy describes play therapy as a therapeutic approach to connecting with a child in a way that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child: play. Mental health professionals therapeutically use play to help children, most often ages three to 12 years, better express themselves and resolve behavioral/emotional problems.
Research shows that play therapy is highly effective for children experiencing a variety of social, emotional, and behavioral problems, including but not limited to: anxiety, fears, emotional dysregulation, separation anxiety, divorce or abandonment, family conflict, trauma, ADHD, low self-esteem, impulsivity, grief and loss, life transitions, chronic illness, developmental delays, and relational dynamics.
Most often play therapy is practiced with children between the ages of three and 12 years old; however it can be beneficial at any age.
Each child has different variables, personalities, and circumstances that contribute to the appropriate length of care. Play therapy can consist of 12-15 sessions or longer durations as children and family systems continue to benefit and grow within the process.
It is typically recommended that children attend therapy at least once per week for the first several sessions in order to secure therapeutic rapport between the counselor and the child. After this trust is established and significant progress is made, the frequency of appointments can be discussed to ensure the appropriate fit for the child.
Step 1: Complimentary Phone Consultation
Contact us to find a counselor best suited for your child and schedule. Our Client Care Team will then schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with you and your child's therapist to discuss concerns and to determine whether play therapy is an appropriate fit for the child. This is also an opportunity for the guardians to ask questions about play therapy.
Step 2: Initial Parent Intake Session
The parent intake session is typically a 50-55 minute session with only the parents/guardians and the therapist. You will discuss new client paperwork, a more detailed overview of the play therapy process, goals specific to the child’s needs, and any further questions that parents/guardians might have.
Typically, parent-only sessions are scheduled every 4-6 sessions to provide an important space for parents, parallel to the work that the clinician is doing with their child, to ensure that everyone is working as a team to support the child’s growth.
Step 3: Your Child’s First Session
Your child will attend their first therapy session. Typically sessions are 50-55 minutes in length. We have a waiting room where parents may sit during their child’s session. Following this initial appointment, regular appointments begin as agreed upon.
Connect with a Therapist
Our highly experienced and empathetic counselors are here to guide your child through life’s challenges and help them grow and thrive.