Services




PLAY THERAPY


Initially developed in the turn of the 20th century, today play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them (Axline, 1947; Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002). Through play 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. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.

Play is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. It expands self-expression, self- knowledge, self-actualization and self-efficacy. Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects us to people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates our emotions, and boosts our ego (Landreth, 2002). In addition, play allows us to practice skills and roles needed for survival.

Children are referred for play therapy to resolve their problems (Carmichael; 2006; Schaefer, 1993). Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools, and they misbehave, may act out at home, with friends, and at school (Landreth, 2002). Play therapy allows trained mental health practitioners who specialize in play therapy, to assess and understand children's play. Further, play therapy is utilized to help children cope with difficult emotions and find solutions to problems.

Ms. Brown will discuss this at the intake interview with the parent/parents. Each child is unique and requires a special response for this question. She also provides handouts and brochures to insure you are comfortable responding to questions your child may have.

Ms. Brown meets with parents at feedback sessions throughout the process. She is available to provide assistance when issues arise between sessions. You can also meet briefly with her before a child’s session, if necessary.

Please allow your child to tell you as little or as much they would like about their time in the playroom. It is not helpful to ask questions about the sessions, this can make the child uncomfortable. There may be times when a session is emotionally difficult for your child, this may lead to an increase in difficult behaviors. This is normal and can be expected as they process through the issues that are concerning them. You can contact Ms. Brown to discuss strategies if you are concerned.

There are toys, paint, clay, playdoh, and sand in the playroom. Things can get messy, so please dress your child in clothes that can be soiled without any concerns.


Andrew's Day: Video

Play is a child's first language. When a child plays they express thoughts and feelings that would otherwise remain hidden. That's why play therapy is such a powerful tool to address a child's behavioral and emotional challenges.

Why Choose a Registered Play Therapist?

There is another credential that play therapists in the United States can achieve called the Registered Play Therapist (RPT). This credential is provided through the Association for Play Therapy. It requires the play therapist to have at least a master's degree and license in a mental health field, to complete a substantial amount of play therapy training, to have extensive clinical experience, and to have received play therapy supervision.





SANDTRAY THERAPY


It is a form of expressive therapy. Sandtray Therapy allows a person to construct his or her own story using miniature figures and sand. The story created can be a reflection of the person’s own life and allows them to resolve conflicts, remove obstacles, and gain acceptance of self.

This type of therapy is often used with children, but can be applied to adults, teens, couples, families, and groups as well. Many children are unable to verbalize emotional states, particularly in the face of trauma, neglect, or abuse. This method of therapy serves as a valuable and powerful outlet for children and an incredibly insightful method of gaining access to traumatic experiences.

It was developed by Margaret Lowenfeld in London in the 1920’s. Humans think in images and not words, they can see their world in the sandtray story. She discovered it was very beneficial for children because of their limited verbal ability express feelings.

The non-verbal nature of Sandtray Therapy and the familiar medium of sand can help children achieve feelings of comfort and security. With little instruction from the therapist, the child is free to play and develop his or her own expression of situations. Often the children will experience a sense of independent play and will begin making assumptions and behavior changes without cues from the therapist.

Sandtray Therapy can be combined to tell the child's story as EMDR allows the brain to heal the child's mixed up thoughts about an event or feeling. It can also be integrated into play therapy.

Figures and objects from culture and nature symbolize events and situations in our inner and outer life.

Children select and place objects, while moving the sand to create scenes expressing their deepest concerns.


Sandtray Therapy Video

While play is a fun activity that can help a child learn, it can also be used to help children who have experienced trauma, learn coping skills. Well take a look at the benefits of sand play therapy. 0 to 5 in 30 Minutes! is a product of Valley Public Television. The program is sponsored by First 5 Fresno County, First 5 Tulare County, and First 5 Madera County.





THERAPLAY


Theraplay® provides techniques for children and families to create relationships that are based on nurturing and trust. The joy that play brings to children is also brought into the parent child relationship.

Theraplay® focuses on four central parent/child connection areas: nurture, structure, engagement, and challenge. Attachment and trust between parent and child are built through activities that encourage a secure bond for the child with the caregiver. Through play children are able to build self-esteem, trust, become more regulated, and connect with others in a meaningful and authentic way. Healing from trauma can be healed with techniques that are used allowing children and their families to reconnect with a safe and secure attachment. Theraplay can be especially beneficial for foster/adopt families.

Theraplay is appropriate for children of all ages, including babies. It can also be beneficial for teenagers when combined with other techniques.

Parents and caregivers are eventually able to use these techniques with the child at home continuing to build a connected relationship with their child.
Theraplay has been used since 1975 in 36 countries and is a research based therapeutic modality for all ages, including babies.

A child begins to view themselves as lovable and deserving of relationships with others as a result of the enjoyable social connection experienced with Theraplay.

More information about Theraplay and The Theraplay Institute are available at: 
http://www.theraplay.org/index.php/about-tti




EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.

EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

For children, EMDR allows them to remove mixed-up thoughts or feelings. These thoughts can be like a heavy bag the child carries until the thoughts are healed. Tapping, eye movement, and bilateral stimulation can be used to allow the brain to heal.

Yes, it is. There are several providers who specialize in providing EMDR Training focused on helping children. Ms. Brown has pursued extensive additional training regarding the use of EMDR with children.



GROUP THERAPY


It is a unique form of therapy in which a small number of people meet together once a week in order to learn new behavioral skills. During this time, members learn strategies to help them successfully achieve the goals of the group. It has been a common practice for 50 years and has been proven to be very effective.

Working together they are able to increase their own skills and assist others to develop theirs as well. They are able to “role play” with peers the strategies they are learning. It is also helpful to become aware that others their age are also struggling with emotional issues. Groups are small and limited to 6 children with similar emotional behavioral concerns and close in age.

Groups offered for children to improve communication, friendship skills and peer inclusion. Parenting support is offered to assist children in practicing skills learned in the group to home and school settings. Topics include: Conversations, Joining In, Communication, Handling Rejection, Feelings, Empathy, Friendship Skills and Sportsmanship.

Issues: ADHD, Self Esteem, Confidence

Session Cost: $60+

Group goal is to improve social skills such as Conversation skills, joining in, handling rejection, understanding feelings, empathy, communication, and sportsmanship. Parenting support aimed at practicing skills at home and school is included.

Issues: ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Child or Adolescent

Session Cost: $60+

GIRLS: SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL WORLD

Small Group Counseling –Limit 5 girls per group

Age Group: 6th & 7th grade

Transitioning to Middle School can be both exciting and scary for many students. In a fun and engaging group environment students will become empowered with new skills to face “middle school” challenges. They will learn problem-solving strategies while also developing leadership skills. As a former school counselor for 5th-8th graders, Ms. Brown has personally assisted in the transition of hundreds of students. Group activities will prepare them to enter the “Middle School World” with the knowledge of what to expect and equipped with techniques. By providing the right tools and strategies students can experience a smoother transition into this “new world” which can influence their success.

Session Cost: $60+

BOYS: NAVIGATING THE ROAD TO MIDDLE SCHOOL

Small Group Counseling – Limit 5 boys per group

Age Group: 6th & 7th grade

Transitioning to Middle School can be both exciting and scary for many students. In a fun and engaging group environment students will become empowered with new skills to face “middle school” challenges. They will learn problem-solving strategies while also developing leadership skills. As a former school counselor for 5th-8th graders, Ms. Brown has personally assisted in the transition of hundreds of students. Group activities will prepare them to enter the “Middle School World” with the knowledge of what to expect and equipped with techniques. By providing the right tools and strategies students can experience a smoother transition into this “new world” which can influence their success.

Session Cost: $60+

Ms. Brown carefully screens all members before they are allowed to join a group. She meets personally with each potential member before they join to insure a positive experience for each child/teen.

Contact Ms. Brown to discuss the issues you are concerned about for your child. She will be able to assist you with the best choice for your child’s needs.

Parents will receive a handout each week to assist your child with practicing the social skills and strategies they are learning. There will also be a short info session at the end of each weekly group meeting.




PARENT CONSULTATION


Parent Consultation offers support and guidance allowing you to gain confidence in your parenting skills. Parenting is difficult under the best circumstances. It can sometimes be a struggle to find the right balance of expectations for your child’s personality. Parents often question their decisions and skills when their child does not respond to the methods they are using. These behaviors can lead to questions about what is “normal and what is a cause for “concern.”

It is essential to consider a child’s developmental stage and unique personality traits when developing a plan to assist your family. Parents who are overwhelmed and frustrated dealing with a defiant child or with a child who whines and fights constantly with siblings sometimes react in ways that are not helpful for anyone. There are practical solutions that can assist with parents dealing with some of these issues: power struggles, sibling conflict, bedtime issues, and defiance. There are many options to assist parents; Ms. Brown can assist you in finding the right solution for your family.

Parenting can be a challenge at any age; other family issues will often impact behavior and parental response. Behaviors sometime escalate and the family enters a cycle of ineffective patterns. Families can benefit by seeking assistance to stop the “dance of anger”that can take over during interactions between members.

Ms. Brown’s experience as a Special Education educator and School Counselor provides a unique background to assist parents as they advocate for their children in the educate system. She is also available to attend Annual ARD’S, 504 meetings, and parent/teacher conferences.