Tips for New Play Therapists: Working With the Quiet Child
When a child comes into your office and doesn't seem very social, or express themselves verbally all that much, a number of factors could be at play. Whether it's anxiety, depression, or shyness, it's important that you find a way to connect with them. Especially if you're a new therapist, it can be tough to know exactly what to do. Here are some tips to help you learn to work with quiet children. Build a Relationship
The best way to help a quiet child open up is to build a relationship with them. Once you establish trust and rapport with a child, they will start to open up. A great way to do this is explaining what the purpose of therapy is and what your role is as a therapist at the beginning of a session. In addition, validating a child's thoughts or feelings as a session progresses can help build that essential bond of trust. Learn About the Child
Taking the initial sessions to learn what a child likes can be crucial in future sessions, especially if you're dealing with a quiet or shy child. Small play sessions can help here, as well. By the time children reach age six, they've spent almost 15,000 hours playing. What toys make them feel at home? Are they interested in the sand tray therapy kit
? Are therapy cards more their speed? Different types of child therapy toys can make each child feel differently about their individual experiences. This is an aspect of therapy that can help children feel more at ease in the therapy room, which makes it all the more important for you to include. Be Quiet
If you're working with a quiet child, it's important that you remember it's okay for you to be quiet, too. Especially as a new therapist you may feel like there's a need to maintain frequent conversation. But in reality, it's completely okay, and may even make a child feel more at ease, to have periods of time where nobody is talking. A simple, quiet sand tray therapy kit session could be the key to working well with the child.
It may take time to get used to working with quiet children, but these tips should help you along the way. Remember: part of play therapy is allowing a child to process unconscious and subconscious experiences.