So parents are taught to conduct weekly child-centered play sessions, at home, with their own children. It works best if the whole family is involved. Think about it: Everyone has to schedule these play sessions in their weekly schedules. Play sessions are scheduled for the same time each and every week. Family life is transformed.
In child-centered play therapy, parents learn to structure a context in which, except for time and a few selected limits, parents can’t initiate; they give their full and undivided attention to their child,. respond with acceptance, nonjudgment, and acknowledgment of their child’s underlying feeling motivations. In addition, parents learn to set and maintain a few necessary limits that keep the sessions safe and improve their children’s self-regulation. Through this process, the parent-child relationship is transformed into a softened, emotionally engaged, and collaborative one. With continued weekly play sessions and the therapist’s support in helping parents generalize the principles and skills in their everyday lives, most problems are changed and family life improved.
In retrospect, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn about this remarkable approach and make it part of my life’s work. Clinically, I can’t think of a better way to intervene when children are referred for therapy.
More from YourTango: Parenting in the Age of Technology