Family Play Therapy
Families can become ingrained in roles and patterns that are hard to change. In family play therapy, instead of asking the child to come up to the parent’s level to talk it out, the parents move down to the child’s level to play it out. Through play, families can try on new roles experientially and thus allow for an unconscious shift and change to occur.
Our families influence our lives; shape who we are, how we think about ourselves, and what we do. Because of this, the family is a powerful system that can get stuck in roles and patterns that are difficult to break. Imagine a truck that drives in a large circle on semi-soft dirt. Each time the truck drives around that circle the grooves and the path get a little deeper. This is similar to how a family pattern develops: each participant responds and reacts to the other in a patterned way—a way that everyone in the family becomes used to. In family therapy, we aim to get that truck off of the circular track and invite new ways of being and responding within the system.
For families with small children, traditional talk therapy transcends the child’s developmental capacity to sit and talk about what is going on. In Family Play Therapy, through directed exercises, the parents enter the child’s world through play and experiential activities that provide the opportunity to try something different and send that truck off its track. When families are able to see others in a different light, newer, healthier roles and patterns are free to emerge.