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What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is an evidence-based therapy for children aged between 3 and 12 years, which provides a safe environment that allows children to express themselves and make sense of their life experiences through play. Play is the most natural and innate form of expression, exploration and communication in children.

Unlike many adults, children often don’t have the vocabulary to help process their thoughts and feelings to certain experiences. For example, children who have experienced trauma, often hold these experiences & reflections in the subconscious, therefore are unable to verbalise their thoughts and feelings in the same way that many adults would. That’s where play comes in! Play allows for the processing of these subconscious themes and thoughts in a safe space, with a trusted Play Therapist.

Play therapy allows us to enter the child's world and understand how they see and feel about the world. In turn, this allows us to uncover the core of the difficulties they are experiencing. Play therapy provides children with the tools, environment and emotional support they need to be able to play out their experiences in the most natural and self-healing process they can engage in.

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How Does Play Therapy Help?

Play is powerful as it initiates, facilitates and strengthens the development of key skills within  a child’s life. Play is not only central to childhood, but it is crucial to their social, emotional, cognitive, behavioural, creative and language development. Through play children develop the essential cognitive, emotional and social skills that help them to navigate the world around them. So, when children play, they learn to tolerate frustrations, regulate their emotions and foster positive social interactions.

​Child-centered Play Therapy sessions can be both directive or non-directive, depending on which therapeutic models the Play Therapist is pulling from. They are always relationship focused and child lead in nature. Play Therapy is considered to be a medium to long term therapy intervention that is unique based on the child’s developmental capacities, temperament, presenting issues, current needs and goals. Each service is unique and the period of time a child works through an intervention can differ based on individual circumstances.

At Ballarat Play Therapy, our therapeutic approach with children also involves supporting the family holistically along the journey by empowering parents and/or caregivers by bringing about positive changes within their interactions and relationships. Play Therapy is a slow, gentle and gradual process, with long lasting benefits which manoeuvre their way into all areas of life.

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Who can Benefit from Play Therapy?

Suitable Referrals

Play Therapy is best suited for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Children may see a Play Therapist for a number of childhood emotional, behavioural, developmental, social or psychological concerns, some examples include:

•  Emotional issues (anxiety, depression, low self-esteem/confidence)

•  Anger, aggression, violence

•  Peer problems, struggling to make friends, social isolation

•  Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

•  Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

•  Coping with family breakdown, loss or bereavement

•  Speech and language difficulties

•  Experience of trauma, abuse or neglect

•  History of family violence or substance abuse

•  A variety of other concerns

Every child can benefit from Play Therapy. Play is vital to a child’s social, emotional, cognitive, behavioural, creative and language development. Play Therapy supports children to develop confidence and resilience which in turn allows them to work through and overcome any difficulties they may be experiencing. Play Therapy is beneficial to learning and forming social bonds with parents, carers, siblings, and peers.  Play Therapy prepares children to manage the demands in their ever-changing world.

How to Refer your Child or Family to
Ballarat Play Therapy

Referring your child or family to Ballarat Play Therapy is a very simple process.

Simply get in contact with Ballarat Play Therapy via Email (, or submit a form via our home or contact page and tell us a short description of what brings your child or family to Ballarat Play Therapy. This might include a little bit of information about your child or family’s presenting concerns and your goals as a parent/caregiver or family.

Alternatively, if you feel more comfortable speaking over the phone, you are more than welcome to call (0475 896 214). 

I will endeavour to return your contact as soon as possible. 

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As with other types of therapy, Play Therapy is confidential. This means that anything shared during the therapeutic process will remain between the child and their Play Therapist. Children are asked what information they’re comfortable sharing during parent review meetings, which helps the child feel empowered, free and safe to express themselves in any way they like. Confidentiality remains, unless of course the concern of safety for the child or others is present, in this instance parents, caregivers, or other relevant parties are informed.

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