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Student Counseling, often referred to as Play Therapy, builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them. Through this therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. In therapy, toys and activities are used to allow a child expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.
At Alternatives For Children, student counseling/play therapy is one component of a team approach to assist in developing a child’s ability to benefit from educational and therapeutic intervention. Children who may benefit from this service include those with low self-esteem, excessive anger, worry, fear, or shyness, behavior that interferes with social interaction, and behavior that impacts on the ability to learn. Children experiencing trauma, such as a chronic illness, family difficulties, or loss, may also be candidates for therapy.
Therapy is designed to meet the needs of the specific child. Therapy is provided by psychologists and social workers in a playroom specifically designed, decorated, and furnished with the toys, books, and other items a child may need in order to express themselves and their concerns. Therapy may also be provided in the classroom to assist in developing the child’s peer social interaction and coping skills within context. Parents are important allies in the therapy process and can enhance the work their child does in therapy. Psychologists and Social Workers communicate frequently with parents to learn what is happening in the child’s life, to share important observations, and to provide suggestions on how parents can incorporate the strategies used in therapy into home and community settings.