Featured Therapist: Dr. Shelley Jackson

Featured Therapist: Dr. Shelley JacksonDr. Jackson is experienced in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Play Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy and Psychodrama which she utilizes with both children and adult clients. She also has experience working with couples and groups.

What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is a form of counseling or psychotherapy in which play is used as a means of helping children express or communicate their feelings. Play therapy is a way of being with a child that honors their unique developmental level and uses the language of the child: Play. Registered Play Therapists use play to help their clients express themselves and resolve problems.

Play Therapy works best when the therapist has established a relationship with the child in which the child feels free to express themselves. The child can then be able to communicate both what pleases them and what bothers them. Play Therapy has been used successfully in mental health agencies, schools, hospitals, and private practice for children with behavioral problems such as anger, grief, loss, divorce and abandonment, and crisis and trauma. It is also used for children who have behavioral disorders, such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), autism or pervasive developmental, academic and social developmental, physical and learning disabilities, and conduct disorders.

Play Therapy works best when a parent or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process. Play Therapy is an effective treatment for children, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem.

Why Play Therapy?
Play, in general, seems to be disappearing in some essential areas of a child’s life, and it ironically makes play therapy even more critical. Playtime itself is often seen as an educational or learning experience and playing for playing has disappeared. Children are involved in organized play experiences but do not have the luxury of playtime without the pressure of learning something or being corrected. Play Therapy provides a child space and time for them to sit down and not only play but to get an adult’s full attention.

As stress continues to increase for children and families the mental health needs of children is growing. Children younger and younger are needing help dealing with stress. Suicide has become the second leading cause of death for children 10 – 14 years old. A Registered Play Therapist can address the mental health needs of children 3 – 10 using Play Therapy. The Association for Play Therapy suggests that children between the ages of 3 – 12 years old should participate in Play Therapy as an intervention to alleviate symptoms related to behavioral and emotional problems, as well as contribute to overall wellness and healthy development.

Play Therapy is available at Stonebriar Counseling Associates with Dr. Shelley Jackson.


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