Play Therapy for Children - Click here to return to Home Page
Play therapy - this page
What is play therapy?
The therapy process
Helpful for:
Benefits of therapy
Signs to be aware of
Who needs to know
The Therapist
Brief biography
A few testimonials
Additional services
Contact me
In the news
Related links
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Susan Garofolo, B.A., C.P.T., C.T.T.
Certified Play Therapist
Certified TheraplayŽ Therapist
Member of P.T.I.
Member of O.A.C.C.P.P.
Member of C.A.C.P.T. (Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy)
Serving GTA, Peel, Halton and Niagara Region
Client Home-Based Therapy Sessions
Phone: 905-580-7529
(this is NOT long distance for Toronto residents)
Contact the Webmaster

Play Therapy

What is play therapy? | The therapy process | Helpful for | Benefits of therapy | Signs to be aware of | Who needs to know?

What is play therapy?
"Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child's natural medium of self-expression. It is an opportunity which is given to the child to 'play out' his feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, an individual 'talks out' his difficulties."
Virginia Axline

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The therapy process
ABear complete history of the child is attained followed by a clinical assessment and consultation with the care giver. Based on this information an appropriate treatment modality is chosen. For instance, a directive or non-directive approach may be used, depending on what the situation calls for. In all cases, the treatment is play-based and child-centred, focusing on the individual needs of the child. For example:

  • Children dealing with loss
    Children caught in the middle of divorce and children who have been abused have all experienced various forms of loss. Through the healing medium of play, they are given the opportunity to express their feelings and understand the events that have taken place. This process offers children new skills to help them deal with their circumstances, move forward and enjoy their childhood.

  • TheraplayŽ for children with attachment related problems
    TheraplayŽ is play therapy for children and their parents. It is designed to enhance attachment, raise self-esteem, improve trust in others and create joyful engagement. TheraplayŽ is based on the natural patterns of healthy interaction between parent and child, and is personal, physical and fun! TheraplayŽ sessions create an active and empathic connection between the child and the parents, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.

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Helpful for

    Child and Mother
  • Children who are dealing with parental conflict, separation or divorce
  • Children who have been traumatized through sexual, physical or emotional abuse (N.B. Disclosure and family custody resolution through the legal system must precede treatment.)
  • Children who have been adopted or are in foster care
  • Children who are dealing with issues of loss, such as illness or death of a loved one
  • Children who havebeen hospitalized
  • Children who have witnessed domestic violence
  • Children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Children who have experienced serious accidents or disasters

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Benefits of therapy

  • Reduces anxiety about traumatic events in the child's life
  • Facilitates a child's expression of feelings
  • Promotes self-confidence and a sense of competence
  • Develops a sense of trust in self and others
  • Defines healthy boundaries
  • Creates or enhances healthy bonding in relationships
  • Enhances creativity and playfulness
  • Promotes appropriate behaviour

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Signs to be aware of

    Child and Mother
  • Excessive anger, worry, sadness or fear
  • Aggressive behaviour (hurting others or self)
  • Separation anxiety
  • Excessive shyness
  • Behavioural regression
  • Low self esteem
  • Learning or other school problems
  • Sleep, eating or elimination problems
  • Preoccupation with sexual behaviour
  • Difficulty adjusting to family changes
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches that have no medical cause

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Who needs to know

  • Parents
  • Physicians
  • Family Lawyers
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Teachers
  • Social Workers
  • Psychotherapists
  • Child Care Workers


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Use of this web page or e-mail link does not imply a client-therapist relationship