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Play Therapy Frequently Asked Questions by Leah Rydel, JCAC Counselor


Have you considered Play Therapy for your child? Counselor, Leah Rydel answers FAQs parents have about starting Play Therapy.

Leah has a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is currently awaiting approval of her Associate Professional Counseling (APC) license in Georgia. Leah is also working towards her Registered Play Therapist (RPT) license which involves special supervision and extensive trainings in play therapy!

Q: What is Play Therapy and is it right for my child?

A: Play Therapy is a model of therapy centered on the idea that play is the language of children. In play therapy, your child will develop skills related to building self-esteem and positive self-regard, learning a healthy understanding of boundaries, assisting in emotion identification and regulation and practicing of mindfulness techniques all through their natural medium of expression – PLAYING! I truly feel all children can benefit from play therapy! Similar to adults, children also need support systems outside of family and close friends and play therapy is exactly that, support for your child.

Q: What is a typical timeline for fixing my child’s bad behavior?

A: First and foremost, play therapy is not about “fixing” a child - as children are not broken. If a child is acting in maladaptive patterns, this child is simply unregulated in one way or another. In play therapy, your child and I will work together to understand why they are struggling and practice regulating in a healthy way. Unfortunately, there is no set timeline for when a child will be ready to end their play therapy sessions. Each child is unique and therefore their journey is unique. An important mantra of child-centered play therapy is children will get where the need to be on their own time - it is the role of the therapist to support their journey.

Q: Do you offer parent coaching sessions?

A: Yes! Not only do I offer them but I highly encourage them! I only spend one session per week with your child. As the parents, you are with them every day and therefore have the most influence over them. My ultimate goal is to empower you all as a family with the tools to communicate and connect in a healthy, effective manner.

Q: Do you require a certain amount of sessions per week or month?

A: No. I understand that therapy is an out of pocket expense and I never want families to feel pressured to go beyond their means. With that said, I do recommend weekly sessions for the first 3-5 visits in order to build a strong rapport and sense of trust with a child. However, I do feel consistency is more important than frequency so if every other week sessions work best for your family, I can absolutely accommodate that schedule!

Q: What is one thing I can start today to help support my child?

A: Simple – PLAY! Set aside time (I recommend 10 minutes) each day to enter into a child’s world of play. No phones and no distractions. During this time try to refrain from any leading or correcting of your child. Engage with them and follow their lead! Just 10 minutes a day can have some pretty life changing effects. Children will not come to you and say “I had a hard time today, may we talk?” Instead, they will say “Will you come play with me?”