Because the brain keeps growing and forming new neural links, positive experiences can help heal trauma and other conditions by improving neural integration. One of the most effective ways to provide that positive support for children is through non-verbal activities – like play.
As children work through traumatic memories and sensations, their bodies try to integrate their sympathetic, or hyper-aroused, state (which can be experienced as high physical energy, high emotion, and difficulty in regulating responses) and their dorsal para sympathetic, or hypo-aroused, state (which can be experienced as feelings of numbness, low physical energy and low cogitative functioning). When the balance is achieved, their wellbeing, development and social engagement all improve.
In child-centred play therapy, our clinicians help to co-regulate the child's internal experience. This helps them move towards uncomfortable memories, thoughts, and body sensations that they experience as challenging.
Our clinicians work to help children find their 'authentic self'. Instead of looking at reactions as 'right' or 'wrong', we work with the child to help by increasing their understanding about why they are reacting in a certain way. A child's journey towards their authentic self leads to a heightened self-awareness and can help them manage where they are at present and be better prepared to face future challenges.
Our approach helps provide children with the tools they need to:
- better understand themselves and, more importantly, like who they are
- remain grounded, even when feeling challenged
- regulate their nervous systems and move towards the outcome they want, even when they are feeling emotional.