Child-centered play therapy

Nauser Bear is wearing a cape and holding a doll of an infant in one hand and a toy foam sword in the other hand, some of the key tools for the provision of child-centered play therapy.

It has been said that children need to pretend to be superhuman just to feel human in this world that constantly puts them in a one-down position. My vision of a truly just and healthy world is one that effortlessly meets the needs of mothers, children, and dogs. There are many ways in which a consumer capitalist, white supremacist, patriarchal society fails to live up to that promise, but the way that this society fails children specifically breaks my heart every day. Child-centered play therapy can help.

At a very basic level, our society fails to acknowledge that children are people, too, and that they deserve respect and comfort as they desperately try to adjust their nervous systems to a world that was not built for them.

Child-centered play therapy is a modality that honors every child’s innate yearning for connection and growth. It recognizes that a child’s first language is play, not words, and it assumes that when children are given a safe container to explore their inner worlds without excessive outside influence, they can find what they need for healing to occur.

Here are some common problems that child-centered play therapy can be helpful for:

  • Depression
  • Impulsiveness
  • Bullying
  • Anxiety/Fearfulness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Social withdrawal
  • School problems

I have had a strong connection with children my entire life. I was the oldest cousin of a large extended family, and my mother operated a day-care for toddlers out of our apartment during my elementary school years. My first job in high school was as an aide for an elementary school after-school program, and I’ve worked in schools and camps ever since. One of my most rewarding professional experiences with children was as one of the founding arts educators of the RiverStars Performing Arts program in Oregon’s Illinois River Valley. As a graduate student at California Institute of Integral Studies, I felt a strong resonance with the philosophy of child-centered play therapy, and I furthered my training during a post-graduate associateship with the Child Therapy Institute from 2017-2020.

If you’re curious about how child-centered play therapy could be helpful for your child, schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation by clicking the button below.