An Introduction to Play Therapy

An Introduction to Play Therapy 2017-04-14T21:11:55+00:00

“Sometimes it takes fun and games to reach a child”s heart and strengths.”
– Dr. Elizabeth Dybell

When should I ask for help?

 At times, parents have questions about children’s behavior.  You may need answers and support from someone outside the home when things are becoming intense or worrisome.

Perhaps a teacher has spoken with you about your child’s conduct, classroom performance, or declining grades.  Homework might be taking a long time for your child to complete.  Your child might play alone or be isolated by others.  Maybe you are unable to talk with your child openly.  At times it may be difficult to encourage your child to make behavior changes or more effective responses to situations and others.

After trying everything you know how to do, how can you help your child be successful and better use his or her unique strengths?How is a plan developed?

To me, every child is special and so are your concerns.  I know how to identify your child’s behavior and the causes.  Like you, I approach your child with kindness, understanding, and experience.  Through play therapy or just talking and listening – in complete confidence – I can uncover underlying problems.  I enlist everyone’s help – especially yours.  You’re a big part of our plan.  we can work together to identify your child’s unique strengths and resources into a growth-promoting plan.  No matter what difficulties you and your child are experiencing, these worries involve your entire family.  The best way to find a solution is to work on it together.

How does play therapy work?

Psychotherapy, and play therapy in particular, is not easily described in general statements.  It varies depending on the personalities of the psychologist and child, the age of the child, and the particular problems the child is experiencing.  there are many different methods I may use to deal with the problems that you h ope to address.  Play therapy is not like a medical doctor visit.  Instead, it calls for your child to take a very active part.  In order for the therapy to be most successful, as the parent, you will also have to work on things we talk about both during our sessions and at home.

Before I ever see your child, I will gather information by having you complete some questionnaires about your child and your observations.  We may even decide to get information from his or her teachers.  Then you and I will meet.  You best know your child and have valuable ideas about what is happening.

What will my child experience in your sessions?

The next step if to meet your child.  Kids call me “Dr. Elizabeth.”  I encourage children to feel comfortable with me and to trust me.  I want them to know I am someone they can talk to about their worries, sadness, or hidden anxieties.  Through my experience, I’ve been able to find sources of strength which can lead your child to success and personal growth.

Having fun and playing games put children in relaxing, creative, familiar, situations.  They express themselves more freely during playtime and, with a trained observer and play partner, the things that bother them the most can be explored in a positive setting.  we might play and talk about all sorts of things in my play room.  It takes experience and time to bring out your child’s feelings and to identify specific areas which need support.  Understanding can be a powerful way to help children and parents learn strategies and make new behavioral choices.

Although you will not be in the play room when I work with your child, he or she will often tell you what we have done or made, or how we played.  It is important for you to remember that i bring up certain behaviors, feelings, and skills through our play during these sessions.  At times, we may ask your opinion about a plan we made or even ask you to join us in the play room to share something special.

How will I participate in my child’s therapy?

Once we have explored the problem, we will work together to find effective solutions which create positive results.  You and I will share information at the beginning of each session to be sure that we are working together to make changes at home, school, and during my sessions with your child.  We will share observations and ideas about how to continue helping your child make progress and learn new skills.  I will make recommendations and help you take what I have discovered and practiced with your child into everyday life and specific situations.

Play therapy has both benefits and risks.  Since play therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of life, your child may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration,  embarrassment, loneliness, or helplessness.  It will be important to encourage your child to discuss these feelings with me – it is all part of the therapy process.  On the other hand, play therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, new skill development, self-confidence, and significant reductions in feelings of distress.

In my experience, children often look forward to our time together.  They receive my total focus and yours at these times – situations which quickly can become “special” and times of long-lasting memories, learning, and growth.  Even small changes in behaviors, attitudes, and responses can make a big difference.  Together, we can help your child be happier and more successful.

How can I help my child?

By seeking help for your child, you have made the first, positive step.

The problem and its source need to be identified.  My initial visit with you can highlight the issues.  If necessary, I can conduct further testing to pinpoint strengths and areas which need support.  at other times, we move directly to having me meet your child in a play session to gain information.  regardless of the path, together, we will create an individualized plan for reaching a solution.

 For more information, please see   “FAQs about Psychotherapy.”  You may also find addition information in the  “Office and Practice Information” section.

How do I have my child begin play therapy with Dr. Dybell?

Please call my office (713.218.7004) and we can briefly discuss your needs and reserve your initial appointment.  A pack of forms and questionnaires will be mailed to your home address.  Please gather the information and complete the forms, returning them to me prior to our first meeting.