“Toys are children’s words and play is their language.”

Dr. Garry Landreth, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is a form of counseling that meets children at their developmental level through the use of play so that they can learn:

  • To accept and respect themselves
  • To express their feelings responsibly
  • That their feelings are acceptable
  • To use self-control and self-direction
  • To be creative and resourceful in confronting problems
  • To make choices and to be responsible for their choices

Mended Hearts is excited to offer Child-Centered Play Therapy with Kim Scardina LCPC. Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) was created over 60 years ago and continues to be one of the most researched models of play therapy in the world. This evidence-based counseling approach will focus on your therapist building a relationship based on kind, clear communication with your child, while the child communicates through play.

Would My Child Benefit from Play Therapy?

Generally, the recommended age range for play therapy is 3-12 years of age. There is vast research about the effectiveness of Child-Centered Play Therapy with a wide range of issues experienced by children. A few common childhood issues that are appropriate for treatment are:

  • Adjustment Issues
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Divorce Reactions
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Caregiver/Teacher Relationship Stress
  • Grief/Trauma
  • ADHD
  • Disruptive Behaviors
  • Academic Issues
  • Developmental Delays
  • Medical Issues/Speech Impairments


What is the Parent’s Role?

In CCPT, parents generally are not included in the playroom but your input is still important. In the initial 60 minute evaluation, you can expect to meet with the therapist for 30 minutes to talk about your concerns. Then while your child is having an initial 30 minute play therapy session, you will complete a detailed assessment about your child’s behavior. At the beginning of each session, the therapist will offer to meet with you for about 15 minutes to answer your questions and provide a review of themes showing up in your child’s therapy. Throughout your child’s therapy, you will be asked to complete assessments to measure progress. Research indicates that most children receive the maximum benefit of play therapy between 15-20 sessions.

How Should I Explain Play Therapy to My Child?

It’s best to keep it simple. You can say something to your child like:

“You’re going to have a special play time in a room full of toys with a caring grown up that wants to play and talk with you.”

Why Choose Mended Hearts for Your Child’s Play Therapy?

While any therapist can say they offer play therapy, only a few have play therapy specific training and certification. Kim Scardina LCPC is a member of the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement’s CCPT certification program. This ensures that your child is receiving quality therapy that follows the treatment protocol evidenced to be effective at improving behaviors and emotional health.

For more information about play therapy and evidence-based practice, please visit the Association for Play Therapy (APT)