PLAY THERAPY: What is Play Therapy and How Does it Help?
Play therapy is one of the many therapeutic services that the Phoenix Center provides to children and adolescents with mental health needs, such as survivors of abuse, neglect and trauma.
Play therapy utilizes play, children's natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings more easily through toys and art instead of words.
One of the leading experts on play therapy notes "Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. Play is the child's way of communicating just as talking is the adult's natural way of communicating. In the playroom, toys are used like words and play is the child's language. Children are provided special toys in play therapy to enable them to say with the toys what they have difficulty saying with words...they can use dolls, puppets, paints, or other toys to say what they think or how they feel."
Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve emotional or behavioral issues. Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them. Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior and develop problem-solving skills.
The majority of the children who receive play therapy services at the Phoenix Center are survivors of abuse, neglect and/or trauma. Many of our young clients are experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If a child has survived abuse, play therapy provides a safe psychological distance from the traumatic experience, and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to the child's age and development.
Play Therapy International lists some of the "tools" commonly used in play therapy:
- Therapeutic Storytelling
- Creative Visualization (Relaxation Techniques)
- Puppets and Masks
- Drama & Role Play
- Therapeutic Toys and Dolls
- Sand & Clay
Play therapy has been used to help children since 1919. In that time, research has shown its effectiveness in being beneficial to children and families.
For more information please visit:
Association for Play Therapy: http://www.a4pt.org/ps.index.cfm
Play Therapy International: http://www.playtherapy.org/playhowdoestpwork.html
UNT Center for Play Therapy: http://cpt.unt.edu/about-play-therapy/what-is-play-therapy
Enchanted Rock Outdoor Therapy
On March 24th, a group of teen girls took a trip to Enchanted Rock for an outdoor therapy session. The theme of our session was self-esteem and personal strengths. The girls who attended are survivors of abuse, and during the retreat all were smiling, relaxing and even romping in the creek after a hike to the summit. All who attended enjoyed a picture perfect Spring day with abundant sunshine, wildflowers, and signs of new life and growth everywhere - most wonderfully on the faces of the girls.
During the retreat, each of the girls named their strengths as well as those of each member of the group... One 13 year old survivor of abuse said "My gift is my voice. Both my singing voice and my voice that inspires others."
Enchanted Rock is an enormous pink granite rock formation located in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in the Llano Uplift, approximately 15 miles north of Fredricksburg and 15 miles south of Llano. It covers about 640 acres and rises about 425 feet above the surrounding terrain. It is the largest rock formation of this type in the United States.
Look for more outdoor therapy sessions in June and July, with expanded outdoor programming this summer at Camp Phoenix at Candlelight Ranch (Candlelight Ranch is the site of Camp Phoenix).
Camp Phoenix - Summer 2012
We are excited to announce that we will be expanding our therapeutic Camp Phoenix program this summer! We will now be offering a total of 5 overnight camp sessions in May, June & July, as well as 4 day camp sessions in June. Please contact us at (830) 613-7230 or email@example.com for more information about our therapeutic camp sessions and how to register.
The photos below are from Camp Phoenix - a camper completing the canyon traverse element of the ropes challenge course and campers engaged in an equine therapy session at camp.
- Healthy Snacks for the After School Program
- Journals (blank, unlined) or sketchbooks for children in counseling to use at home
- Relaxation music CDs (Sound Healing by Steven Halpern) for children in counseling to use at home
- Fund a need online:
$5 donation - provides arts materials
$10 donation - provides healthy snacks
$30 donation - provides 3 yoga mats
$100 - Sponsor our play therapy or counseling services
$500 - Sponsor 1 therapeutic camp session
To help fund a need above, please click here. Donations in any amount are needed and greatly appreciated. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure that our services are available to children and families in need. If you have donated recently, we appreciate your continued and generous support. Thank you.
For more information about our wish list items, please call Sarah at 830.613.7230.
To believe in a child is to believe in the future.
Supply the children
with the tools and knowledge
to overcome their obstacles.
Impact in each child the desire to fulfill his or her dream.
"My girls have learned
to lift up their heads, pick up their talents, and
let their dreams come back."
~parent of children served by the Phoenix Center
"When I come here I feel really good because we work things out."
~child served by the Phoenix Center