Walking into the Emergency Department at the Perth Children’s Hospital with their sick two-year-old daughter Amelia, Brianna and Russell felt…
Toys are an essential part of the tool-kit for Child and Adolescent Health Service therapists when working with their young clients.
Thanks to ongoing support from PMH Foundation donors, hospital therapists’ tool-kits are well-stocked with a range of carefully-selected range of toys and creative materials to help ensure children and young people are enabled to communicate with their therapists.
When working with children and adolescents therapeutically, therapists often use a unique and age appropriate tool-kit of toys to assist their young clients to freely and safely express themselves through creative play therapy.
It can often be difficult for children who are still developing their language skills to process and express their experiences in words. This difficulty increases for children from non-English speaking backgrounds.
Using play therapy, toys and creative mediums such as art and craft materials can become words and play becomes the child’s natural language, which helps therapists work through emotional, psychosocial and behavioural difficulties.
Often the use of toys and creative mediums can provide a safe and emotional distance for the child to work through and share their experiences more comfortably without the risk of further traumatisation.
An all too familiar example is the case of a six-year-old girl who has witnessed and endured an extremely frightening or abusive experience and presents to a clinic with severe anxiety and refusal to talk.
Toys and play become vitally important for her to work through her fears, and express herself while also ‘giving voice’ to her inner hurts.
In a case such as this, a doll house with a variety of family members in it, or miniature objects replicating real life, can give the child the words she so desperately wishes to share with the therapist, and help her to process and make sense of her experiences.
PMH Foundation is committed to ensuring clinicians and therapists are equipped with the tools and training that allows opportunities for engaging children and young people through directive and/or non-directive play therapy.