Many people have questions about Play Therapy – after all, it is still relatively new in Australia. We want you to understand how Play Therapy works, who it can help, and how Be Centre go about delivering it, so we’ve put together some FAQs below. These cover the questions we’re most commonly asked – but if your question isn’t answered here, please get in touch with our team! We’re always happy to share info about what we do.


Play is a child's natural medium of expression. Just as adults use words to talk out their experiences, children use play. Toys are words for children. Children's play is meaningful and significant to them. Through their play children extend themselves into areas they have difficulty entering in verbally. Children are able to use play to express what they cannot say, do what they would feel uncomfortable doing, and express feelings they might otherwise be reprimanded for verbalizing.

When in a safe environment and safe relationship with the therapist, the child can fully express and explore his/her feelings, thoughts, experiences and behaviours. Play can reveal what the child has experienced, the reactions to what was experienced, feelings about what was experienced, what the child wishes, wants or needs, and the child's perception of self. Through the process of expressing themselves through play, children can learn perseverance, pleasure in having the ability to choose, self-direction, self-responsibility, and that they, along with their choices, are accepted. They develop the ability to problem solve which provides satisfaction and increases self-esteem.
Children can feel that they have little or no control over their life experiences. It might feel sometimes like your child is the most controlling little person in the world but this behaviour is usually stemming from a deeper feeling of being out of control. In the play room, the therapist follows the child’s lead. It is the feeling or sense of being in control of the play therapy experience, rather than actual control, which is essential to a child's emotional development and positive mental health. Through the child expressing a specific behavior i.e. aggression in the play room, and the therapist acknowledging the child’s feelings, reflecting this and setting appropriate limits only when necessary, the child can learn self control.
Playing at home is important for your child's development. However at Be Centre the child is playing with a therapeutic objective. The relationship between child and therapist also brings a therapeutic element to the room. It is different to the relationship between parent and child. The therapy session provides a consistent time for your child to 'just be' to choose how they play and what they play with.
It's best to leave it up to your child to decide if they want to talk about their session with you. Try to resist the urge to ask questions like 'what did you do?', "were you good"? or "did you have fun"? It's important for children to have a space where they can 'just be' without judgement or expectation and not feel like they have to report back to anyone about it. A simple statement could be "ok, let’s go home now that you've finished". If your child wants to discuss their session content with you then of course that is fine also.
We understand that kids, parents and therapists get sick or unexpected events occur. However therapy is most beneficial when it is consistent and predictable for the child. If you need to cancel a session please let Be Centre know as soon as possible. If your child is ill, please do not bring them to therapy. Please refer to Be Centre Cancellation Policy for more specific information.
When picking your child up from therapy, it is important to be on time. Sometimes children can feel anxious or worried when they walk out of session and their parent isn't there. To prevent this, please be ready and present for your child at the end of their session. Also your therapist will also need to prepare the playroom for the next session and needs time to do this.
Supporting a child who is experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties can be challenging to manage as a parent/carer and family. If you feel you need some extra assistance in supporting your child through this process, you are welcome to have some parent support sessions with our parent support counsellor.
Try to avoid asking questions in front of your child before or after the session. If you have any questions or concerns you are more than welcome to call/email the therapist before or after the session to discuss. You also have the 'Weekly Parent Report' sheet to update your therapist on what has been happening for your child that week if you would like to do this.
In the initial sessions, please stay in the waiting room in case your child feels anxious about starting and wants to know you are close by. We have a lovely comfortable waiting area with lots of interesting parenting books to read or you can just enjoy some quiet time for yourself. If you do need to leave Be Centre while your child is in session please ensure your mobile phone is on so you can be contacted if necessary. Also during the session, if you have forgotten to fill out a 'Weekly Parent Report' sheet and want to do one, than you can do it then too - just ask at reception for a copy.
For some children the behaviour can get worse before it gets better. The play therapy process works with the child on many levels - consciously and unconsciously. The process can 'open up' the child and may repressed or ignored fears, anxieties or hurts can come out. This 'opening up' can cause behavioural or emotional difficulties to get worse but be assured it is part of the process and it is positive progress that the child is expressing these feelings. It is important to remain patient with your child and the process. Please speak with your child’s therapist if you are experiencing this and need support. Soon enough your child will develop the coping strategies to deal with these difficulties and their resilience will increase.
As a parent it is natural to want to know everything that your child is doing. The reason we have the first review after six sessions is because the Play Therapy process takes time and the therapist needs to get to know your child and vice versa. The first couple of sessions are treated as preliminary sessions where your child can get to know their play therapist and playroom. After 6 weeks we will have more observations to discuss with you and there is a greater window for you to observe any changes in your child. Please feel free to contact your therapist before the 6 week review if you have any concerning matters.
If possible, dress your child in play clothes which are able to get dirty. Your child might be playing with wet sand, paint, glitter or clay which may leave some marks on your child's clothes. It's important your child has the freedom to express themselves without worrying about getting in trouble for being messy. There are also paint shirts for your child to wear. Your child does not need to bring anything to the play therapy session.

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