Therapy for children and adolescents
Small children mostly do not yet have the vocabulary or the concepts to explain why they are not feeling well or why they do not want to go to school or to Kindergarten. Often the explanation is “I have belly ache”. The belly ache stands for the undefined feeling of fear, anger or something else that can not be expressed in an other way. Talking about scary things or scary dreams feels for many children as re-experiencing the situation, as re-traumatizing. For children it is therefore much easier and more natural to express the scary or difficult experience through play in the sand, or in drawings or in other mostly nonverbal ways.
Adolescents sometimes have problems at school or have experienced difficult situations in their family or in their social circles. Often these experiences can be handled at school or through discussions at home. When this is not enough or when no discussions with familiar persons are possible it is helpful for the adolescent to have a neutral third person to talk with. Also adolescents often like to work in the sand once the first resistance is overcome.
All kinds of play and creativity are helpful for children and adolescents when they need to work on difficulties. I offer different activities in my practice. It is not necessary to decide in beforehand which activity to focus on, small children often want to work with clay, draw and work in the sand in the same session. This flexibility allows the child to work on the feelings coming up in the present moment.
Sandplay (see Sandplay for children)
Art therapy (painting and drawing, work with clay…)
Storytelling and role play
The therapy starts with a free and non committal meeting where the situation is discussed. Methods and goals are discussed. After three sessions a second dicussion with the parent(s) can be motivated, this to discuss how the child is doing at home and at school. One session is 60 minutes, one session per week is ideal for children.