A child, who is bereaved by losing someone that they love, can be left feeling overwhelmed but uncertain about how to manage their feelings. Play Therapy offers an environment where the child can perhaps work through some of these feelings. Non-directive therapy allows the child to choose toys and activities that they feel comfortable with. In this way, it may be that the child 'plays out' how they are feeling or 'act out' what has happened in their world.
The role of the therapist is to offer a space that is safe and confidential for the child. This may take place in our designed playroom or possibly at the home or school of the child. The fundamental belief is that children are able to find their own answers and their own way forward. With this belief, it is not appropriate for the therapist to attempt to interpret what the child may be saying, but rather let the child make its own meaning.
In certain circumstances it may be the therapist adopts a slightly more directive role by offering the child activities that may help the child to process what a death means. For example, a child may make a memory box of precious reminders of the person who has died. Sometimes it may be that the child is not sleeping well, so an activity to make a dream-catcher or worry-dolls, may offer the space for the child to confront and explore their anxieties. The use of stories and metaphors could be another way in which to support the child.
As there is no timetable on grief the number of sessions that a child receives will be individual to their needs. It may also be that saying goodbye to their therapist at the end of their therapy will in itself help a child explore what different sorts of endings can mean.