Willow Creek Counseling uses a type of Play Therapy for children 3-11 years known as Experiential Play Therapy. Experiential Play Therapy® is a model of play therapy that allows for the child to be the director of their own therapy. Only the child knows their particular perceptions of their life’s dilemmas. In this play therapy process, the child is able to use toys and metaphors as well as their own creativity to recreate their unique experience in a safe and non-judgmental environment that allows them to approach their struggles at their own pace so that they are able to regain the power that has been lost in the actual event or environment. The play therapist becomes a partner in the child’s quest, assuming whatever role the child requests. This play is active, as the child and therapist work together to expel the stress of the experience and empower the child to move forward.
“Confronting their emotional pain, children repeatedly re-approach the memories of their experiences in the stages of development in which they occurred, in an effort to resolve trauma and master emotional responses in play sessions. The child regains a sense of empowerment, reframing the intense emotions associated with the traumatic experience and replacing it with a restored internal sense of well- being”.
-Byron and Carol Norton, 1997