An effective play therapist must be trained to work with children by graduate programs, workshops, and specific trainings. You can know that a therapist has extensive education and training through a credible certification. The only such one in the United States is accredited by the Association for Play Therapy, where credentialed play therapists are licensed or certified practitioners who have earned a Master’s or higher mental health degree, 150 or more hours of specialized play therapy training, substantial clinical and play therapy experience and supervision, and are required to earn at least 36 hours of continuing education during subsequent three-year renewal cycles. To find a credentialed therapist in your area, go to www.a4pt.org and search under the state you live in. Look for the letters ‘RPT’ (Registered Play Therapist) or ‘RPT-S’ (Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor) behind the therapist’s name to be assured that you are getting a therapist that has been trained specifically for children, since a lot of therapists say they do “play therapy.” Ask for a free phone consultation to ask about the therapeutic approach of the therapist. Learn how he or she works with clients. You will want to ask what to expect from therapy. Lastly you are looking for a personal fit between you/your family and your therapist. A fit is someone you have a sense you could trust and be comfortable working with together.
What you tell your child about seeing a therapist for the first time will differ depending on the age and maturity of your child. Be honest about the fact that your family is going to see a therapist. Do not mislead your child in thinking they are going somewhere else. Talk to your child in a positive and upbeat manner about the idea of going to therapy. Let your child know that they are not in trouble and they are not going to see a therapist because there is something “wrong” with them that needs to be “fixed.” Help your child know that we all need a little extra help sometimes to deal with things that are challenging. If your child has previously expressed a challenge with something then, you may explain that they are going to see the therapist for help with that challenge.
The first session will typically be with just the parent(s) either in-person or virtually through our confidential site for 45 minutes. Your child will typically meet alone for one to three follow up assessment sessions. This will be discussed during the initial parent assessment session based on your child’s age, needs, etc. Be prepared to talk about what has prompted you, your child or family to seek treatment. The main goal for your therapist during the first meeting is to gather information and help you feel as comfortable as possible with the process. Your therapist will provide you information about what to expect moving forward and the focus of the upcoming child assessment session(s), but not yet begin providing specific therapeutic advice.
We are out of network providers and most PPO’s with mental health benefits will cover a portion of our fee. Our client portal allows you to download your superbill to submit to your insurance for a partial reimbursement. In some circumstances members of an HMO can seek to have their case looked at by their insurance company to see if an exception will be made. All clients no matter their insurance are required to pay upfront for services.
Evergreen Play Therapy provides therapy to children and teens 2-18 years old and their families. In general, the older a child gets, the more talking will be incorporated into the sessions, along with age-appropriate therapeutic activities. Play therapy activities used along with “talk therapy” has been shown to be effective for teens. Tweens and teens may be invited to experience expressive arts and therapeutic activities designed specifically for their age and needs and will not be required to participate in them if uninterested.
It is important to not pressure your child to talk about their sessions. Let your child decide what they want to tell you about their sessions. The therapist will share with parents anything that arises in session relating to the child’s safety or any other vital information. It is important to remember your child is granted privacy during their sessions in order to allow for self-expression. Allowing your child to keep their sessions private will help them benefit from the therapeutic process. Remember progress will take time and children will be allowed to work at their pace in order to build and maintain a trusting therapeutic relationship.
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