Child-led Play Therapy
During these sessions, your child will have the opportunity to talk about any feelings that are coming up for them and also be able to play their way through their “problems”. Often children find it easier to express what they are feeling through play which then gives them the ability to communicate how they are feeling and also what they need. Play and creating gives them the chance to feel safe enough to feel the big feelings, name them and move through them with love, acceptance and connection. The idea of "joining” into their world also allows them to feel safe enough in the world to communicate and connect with others, something that isn’t always easy for sensitive children who are in tune with the energies around them. Play is a beautiful way for them to feel safe enough in their environment, activate their parasympathetic nervous system to heal, taking them from a state of "fight or flight" to "stay and play".
Think of a time when you were so engaged with what you were doing and so happy that you forgot about time or anything else? This feeling is what allows our bodies to heal because our focus is no longer on what we don’t have or don’t want and instead is focused on what we do. In these sessions, your child may spend time dancing, singing, playing with toys, doing yoga, meditating, drawing/colouring/creating, reading, journaling or simply visualizing what they love to do. The focus is on letting the children lead and doing what makes them so happy that whatever is in need of healing happens, while allowing the child to learn and grow in a way that feels FUN!
Child-led Play-Based Healing
During these sessions, your child will have the opportunity to talk about any feelings that are coming up for them and also be able to play their way through their “problems”.
Often children find it easier to express what they are feeling through play which then gives them the ability to communicate how they are feeling and also what they need. This helps them to find healthy ways to connect with, express and process their big feelings while learning what they need and finding their words to ask for it.
Play and creating gives children the chance to feel safe enough to feel the big feelings, name them and move through them with love, acceptance and connection. This connection and bonding through play also helps children build healthy attachment styles to strengthen their relationship to self and others.
The idea of "joining” into their world also allows them to feel safe enough in the world to communicate and connect with others, something that isn’t always easy for sensitive children who are in tune with the energies (and people's feelings) around them. For these children who are sensitive, they may not always feel safe in their body, their family or in the world around them because they are so tuned in and "feel" so much.
Play-based healing can bridge the gap between parents and their child to help your child feel understood, empowered and safe in their surroundings. Play is a beautiful way for your child to feel safe enough in their environment, activate their parasympathetic nervous system to heal, taking them from a state of "fight or flight" to "stay and play".
Think of a time when you were so engaged with what you were doing and so happy that you forgot about time or anything else? This feeling is what allows our bodies to heal because our focus is no longer on what we don’t have or don’t want and instead is focused on what we do!
By doing what we love, we let our body do the rest!
In these sessions, your child may spend time dancing, singing, playing with toys, doing yoga, meditating, drawing/colouring/creating, baking, reading, journaling or simply visualizing what they love to do. The focus is on letting the child lead and doing what makes them so happy that whatever is in need of healing happens, while allowing the child to learn and grow in a way that feels FUN and full of CHOICE! This approach empowers your child to get to know themselves, BE their true selves while advocating for their own wants and needs.
This approach supports your whole child as a person to be loved, rather than a patient to be "fixed". Their whole self is supported through the play therapy package in addition to your whole family. The play therapy package supports your family to consciously shift patterns, family dynamics and ways of communicating and greeting "big feelings" with support throughout for both your child (along with your own inner child).
The package includes weekly post-session "themes, tools & take-aways" to further the learning, empowerment and coaching for the whole family to learn, grow and play together! Most importantly, PLAY is the way children learn! Play allows us all to feel safe enough to connect, talk about "big feelings" and find loving ways to express, redirect and "make friends" with whatever feelings, fears or illnesses we have.
*When we aren't quite sure what to do...and take the time to pause, play
and find our fun - there is always a way through!*
what else might you be wondering about play-based healing?
Who might Benefit from Play-Based Healing?
What your child might “appear” as,
or be labeled as:
BiG Feelings and
- Learning difficulties
Has low self-esteem or has experienced trauma
Hard time expressing their emotions
Throwing tantrums or having meltdowns
Behaviour may seem "attention-seeking, rude, or disruptive"
Refusing to go to school and does not want to be there
Experiences emotions as "REALLY BIG!" and experiences mood swings
Social Withdrawal or Bullying
Has experienced bullying, trauma or feeling unsafe in social situations
Feeling withdrawn, lonely or isolated
Has a hard time listening when others are speaking, making eye contact or communicating using words
Difficulty being in noisy, bright or "overstimulating" environments
Your child may find it difficult connecting with others, joining in activities with other people and making/keeping friendships
Checked Out or Unfocused
Difficulty "staying grounded", being "here", present and engaging with others
Your child may appear to just "check out" completely,
space out or be unable to pay attention in the moment
Gets super excited and can't "calm down"
Special needs (Exceptionalities)
Autism, Depression, Anxiety, ADD/ADHD, brain injury or is very hyperactive
Difficulty self-regulating and can sometimes be poorly labeled as the “behaviour kid”
Children with exceptionalities or are labeled as having
Diagnosed with a brain injury or some type of invisible disability or mysterious illness that nobody can seem to understand and aren't quite sure how to support
Seen as "sick" and is constantly going from appointment to appointment or various "specialists" to seek answers and support.
If this is you, feel free to connect and we can talk more about this and if play therapy might be a more supportive approach so that the focus is not always on the "problem" or "sickness" to be healed/fixed but instead the child has a space to heal while being seen for the beautiful, whole and healthy person they are and all that is possible for them!
Sensitive and empathic.
Highly spiritual, connects often to Higher realms and finds it hard to “get grounded”. Your child may find it "safer" up there than down here and could use some support in enjoying life on Earth.
“Rainbow child”, “indigo child” or “crystal child”.
Sensitive and empath kids are in tune with the energies around them and are often sick or diagnosed with other health challenges (may experience chronic inflammatory symptoms) due to their sensitivity and inability to create boundaries around their energy (what's theirs/what's not).
Did you recognize your child in any of the above?
Reach out and let's have a talk about working
(and PLAYING) together!
Sharing is Caring!
What some families have shared after working with Amanda:
"Me and Emaline have been butting heads since her birth. It's been a journey of many hard days, nights and moments of wondering why we can't just get along.
Over the years I have found many ways to heal our relationship and tools that I've used. Some on the physical level, some the emotional, some the spiritual. And we've come a LONG WAY! BUT there has still been this pinch of resistance from both of us that keeps us in the same place. We are very much alike - she is my biggest mirror! So yes, this has some to do with it but I've always felt like I've been searching for the next thing I could bring to our relationship to help her through her feelings and mine. And then I met Amanda.
Amanda has many wonderful gifts and one of them is working with children through Play Therapy. What is play therapy? Well, that would be a blog post! There's so much to share! But the Coles notes is to give your child a safe space to express their feelings through play. One of Emaline's go to expressions is that she goes into fight or flight when she is feeling certain things. She will either become aggressive or she will run away - literally, to both (I've been kicked and jumped on and I've ran around Costco or out of the park after her). Amanda works one on one, in virtual sessions, with Emaline, through play and this allows her to understand her more and is able to give her tools that will bring her back into a safe space more quickly when she is triggered by something.
We are only 4 weeks in and I am amazed at the difference these sessions have made in her ability to express how she is feeling. She's communicating more instead of going into her fight or flee reactions. I've been able to learn SO MUCH about her from the session take aways that Amanda sends after each one. And she has SO MANY amazing tools and ideas on how to address a certain situation or recurring patterns through play, that Emaline has really enjoyed.
I will be honest. Having to look to someone else for support with Emaline and her feelings and growth REALLY hit my EGO. A LOT. haha. But even though I've learned so much about all the things, sometimes your child just doesn't want to hear about it from you. I HAD TO GET REALLY OK ABOUT THAT. And I'm glad I did because our entire family is winning from this! It's SO important to understand how your child plays! Cause that's where their feelings are. And once you start to understand their feelings, is where the magic happens."
~ Julie, Emaline’s Mom
"Prior to play therapy, I had been hearing negative things from my child’s teacher and school. He doesn’t like school or learning there, but LOVED all the things him and Amanda did together (which is also learning, he just didn’t realize it). It was also nice to have reassurance that we have a good kid, we are all doing the best we can and dealing with experiences with the tools that we have.
It was nice to have someone say: “Hey, you’re doing a great job”.
Amanda is so approachable, warm, and caring. She supports both the child and the parent. Amanda really shows great patience and can see the best in every person. Her care and compassion shines through.
Oli loved spending time with Amanda. His favourite parts about child-led play therapy were:
chocolate chocolate cookies, kinetic sand and having fun playing together!
~ Caitlin, Olivier’s Mom
Since my 5-year old son has taken the 8-week Play-Based Healing Program with Amanda, I have noticed much more space for emotions in our family. We are talking more about the emotions that we witness in each other. Amazingly, when we name the emotion, I can see an instant shift. The emotion is still present but less overwhelming. I see we are all taking more ownership for how we feel when the emotion is identified and that allows us to then honour the emotion and then take care what we need. The most amazing shift was being coached and validated through our journey embracing anger. I really have begun to trust that all emotions are safe and valued!
Amanda helped me to believe that all emotions are welcome. As a parent, I did know that emotions are communicating to us but I couldn't trust that they were all safe. The space that Amanda created and all the validation and support she provided consistently showed me that. I would (and have) recommended Amanda to others! Emotions are so important and I would hope more children and families are able to have support with understanding and embracing and communicating their feelings.
Amanda is a FANTASTIC communicator Her positive energy is contagious. Amanda's shining quality is her ability to listen with her heart and show genuine compassion and interest. My son Clark would say EVERYTHING is the best part of Amanda. I think he just loved her presence, attention and enthusiasm for play. I know he also really loved her play space. I really appreciated the follow up emails sent the same day as the appointment, I loved that I could email Amanda in between appointments and I loved the little journal she gave Clark. Amanda has a really wonderful program here!
Thank you Amanda for being you and shining your light onto my family!!
~ Naledi, Clark's Mom