Services: Children & Family Therapy

Parenting has its ups and downs. Therapy can help smooth the way.

For children ages 5+

Tailored therapy options for children and families

Our therapists are specialized in working with children 5+, offering a variety of proven interventions, such as play-based interventions, sand tray therapy and behaviour therapy. 

For children ages 10+ who would benefit from mental health diagnostic services, we offer comprehensive, pediatric psychiatric assessment, diagnosis and treatment through our Integrated Mental Health Clinic.

Our therapists who work with children

What to expect

Parents play an important role in therapy for children.

 The therapist usually starts by conducting an interview with one or both parents or caregivers to gather information about the child and learn what the presenting problem is.

The therapist may then interview the child separately and watch the child play on his or her own. Simply observing how parents and child interact at this juncture can provide the therapist with information about the parent-child relationship, the nature of the child’s attachment, and how well the child and parents manage a separation.

The therapy will be tailored to the individual child, their family circumstances and the nature of the problems they are struggling with. Over time, the child typically comes to trust the therapeutic experience and the therapist, and a supportive relationship develops that fosters progress.

If – for example – play-based interventions are used, in addition to watching how children play with objects in the playroom, therapists notice whether there are any changes in play from session to session. Highly repetitive play may be an important indicator of a concern ready to be explored.

Child Therapy: exploring play

For all humans, play is a fundamental element to our overall growth, and development of learning and processing the world.  Therapists who use play-based interventions are specially trained in the therapeutic power of play to help children process their experiences in the world, to form more effective and desired coping strategies, and to respond optimally for growth and development. 

Through play, children are able to express thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain hidden in their unconscious awareness. Play therapists can help a child/family improve: attachment- relationships, self-expression and emotional regulation,  resiliency and self-esteem, learning tools for stress management and pro-social behaviours. 

Play therapists pay special attention to the child’s choice of play objects, the types of play the child engages in, and well as the style of play. 

Sand Tray Therapy

Sand tray therapy, or sandplay therapy, is a therapeutic approach used for people who have experienced a traumatic event such as abuse or a catastrophic incident. Although this type of therapy is used most often with children, sandplay therapy also can be helpful for teens and adults.

Research shows that sand tray therapy can help increase emotional expression while reducing the psychological distress that may come from discussing traumatic events or experiences.

Sand tray therapy is based on the notion that if a therapist provides the client with a safe space, the client will use the sand tray to create solutions to their problems on their own. 

Sand play therapy has been shown to benefit the following issues

Behaviour Therapy

For kids diagnosed with ADHD

While medication works on a neurological level to regulate the brain (kids with ADHD often have irregular brain-wave levels), behavioural therapy addresses specific problem behaviours by structuring time at home, establishing predictability and routines, and increasing positive attention.

Behaviour therapy in the context of ADHD is not really for the child – it’s for the adults in the child’s life. In this context, parents, teachers, and other caregivers learn better ways to work with and relate to the child with ADHD. You will learn how to set and enforce rules, help your child understand what they need to do, use positive reinforcement effectively, and encourage good behaviour. Your child will learn better ways to control their behaviour as a result. You will learn how to be more consistent. 

Visit our ADHD Resource Hub’s Parenting page to learn more about neurodivergent-affirming strategies to support the development of your child and family. 

Learn more about Play Therapy

The Canadian Association for Play Therapy

 

References
Albuquerque M, Esteves-Sousa D, Moura N, Melo IH de. Sandplay therapy. EFPT Psychotherapy Guidebook. Published online February 19, 2021. doi:10.21428/fc0b32aa.e5562f00
Sweeney DS. Sandtray therapy. Play therapy with children: Modalities for change. Published online 2021:9-24. doi:10.1037/0000217-002