Play Therapy services are available for children ages 3 and older, as developmentally appropriate for the individual child.
Play therapy is to children what counseling is to adults. Play therapy utilizes play, children's natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings and thoughts more easily through toys instead of or in addition to words. Play therapy is more developmentally appropriate for children than talk therapy because it focuses on children’s natural ability to express themselves.
Play therapy is offered in combination with parenting support to assist the entire family through problem solving.
How Does It work?
The most important thing about play therapy is the relationship. Dr. Michelle Perepiczka will give your child undivided attention, convey empathy, and accept him or her where he or she is. When children can communicate or play out how they feel to someone who understands, they feel better because the feelings have been released. You have probably experienced the same thing when talking to a supportive and understanding friend. In addition, play therapists have been trained to respond to children in ways that facilitate emotional growth. In play therapy, children use dolls, art, puppets, and other toys to say what they think and how they feel. Play therapy has been extensively researched and the research has provided strong support for the effectiveness of play therapy with young children.
Children involved in play therapy may experience the following benefits:
- Understand their feelings better
- Become able to express their feelings more appropriately
- Become more confident and skilled in solving problems as well as asking for help when they need it
- Reduction in problem behaviors
- Feel more secure
- Have a more healthy self esteem and increase their self-confidence
- Develop a more positive self-concept
- Assume greater self-responsibility
- Become more self-directing
- Become more self-accepting
- Become more self-reliant
- Engage in self-determined decision making
- Experience a feeling of control
- Become sensitive to the process of coping
- Develop an internal source of evaluation
- Become more trusting of one self
Before the First Session
Parents are asked to tell child that he or she will be coming to be with Michelle in her special playroom. In the playroom, there will be lots of toys to play with. Usually, that is all the child will care about knowing. If the child needs further explanation, tell him or her, “When things are not going well, sometimes it helps to have a special time to share with another person.” Here are some other things to consider that will help your child benefit the most from play therapy.
Have your child wear play clothes that can get dirty. It is common for children to be messy in the playroom with the paints, markers, and clay.
Before the session, please do not direct the child to talk about problems. The child is not forced to talk about anything in the playroom. A safe relationship will need to be established where the child will choose to express concerns through play and/or communication.
After the session, please do not ask questions such as, “Was that fun?” or “What did you do?” or “What did you talk about?” Sometimes, the sessions are not fun because the child is expressing difficult emotions. If the child decides to share with you the experience, then that is great. It is just not always helpful to ask questions about the time. It is a personal time for the child much like talk therapy counseling sessions are for adults. Dr. Michelle Perepiczka will keep you informed about your child’s progress.
Play Therapy Resources
For additional information on play therapy, please see the following resources.
Association for Play Therapy ▪ www.a4pt.org
Center for Play Therapy ▪ www.cpt.unt.edu
Questions About Services?
If you have any questions about play therapy services or would like chat with Dr. Michelle Perepiczka, feel free to call (212) 470-7264 or send an email to Dr.Perepiczka@gmail.com.