Common questions


How does play therapy work?

Understanding the neurological processes that lead children to experiences dysregulation we support children by facilitating deep emotional healing.  In Child centered Play Therapy our Clinicians help to co-regulate the child's internal experience, so that the child can move towards uncomfortable memories, thoughts, and body sensations that are experienced 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 as to WHY they are reacting in a certain way.  A child's journey towards their authentic self leads to a highetened self awareness and can help your child be better prepared to face future challenges as well as manage where they are at present.  
The development of an authentic self is something that many adults even sometimes struggle with.  We want children to be able to feel more comfortable with the following:  Do we understand ourselves and more importantly, like who we are? Can we remain grounded, even feeling challenged? When we are feeling emotional, can we regulate our nervous systems and move towards the outcome we want? Our approach will help provide children with the tools they need to answer these questions.

Will I be in the room with my child?

The answer is, it depends.  We want your Child to start the Therapeutic process and this often means working with the Clinician on their own so the Therapist can support them to start connecting with their own nervous system.  However we always privilege the Child. If your Child needs you to feel comfortable we will work with them in that space.  Our aim is to have your child be able to participate with you waiting just outside the room.  However, there may also come a time when your Therapist decides that you being in the room would be helpful to support your Child's progress.  This will be discussed with you and your Therapist will make sure you are fully prepared to take part in a session. 

How will I be kept informed about my child's progress?

We like to meet with Parents every 5-6 weeks to discuss progress.  At the time of our parent consult with you we will support you to identify specific goals.  We track progress through various measures, but predominantly it will be these specific and defined goals that will help us measure progress.   We believe in working collaboratively with Parents and supporting you to Parent the best way you feel is appropriate for you and your family.  Your Clinician will work with you to help identify challenges and ways we can best support you and your Child through them.  Out goal is to help you to find the way thato provide a supportive and nurturing environment with healthy limits and boundaries. 

How can you support children with biological or neurological based issues?

Although play therapy can not ‘cure’ problems of a biological nature such as attention deficit and autism spectrum disorders, it can successfully be utilised as a highly effective intervention before diagnosis, for example, to rule out or determine if the child’s symptoms are transient, due to adjustment problems, emotional issues, or developmental delays. For children who have a diagnosis of a neurological or biological disorder, play therapy can help address the emotional issues that often occur in conjunction with these disorders making behaviours more extreme.

What is at the foundation of your work?

At Play Therapy Melbourne we work closely with the teachings of Lisa Dion through her Synergetic Play Therapy Model.  We follow the principles advocated by Dan Siegel and Stephen Porges and his Polyvagal Theory.  We use the lens of neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology to support a child to integrate their experiences and move through challenges. 

Is there any research to support this theory?

Chilld Centered Play Therapy is a systematic and evidence based approach to counselling children . This form of Play Therapy has been in use for over 60 years and has a long history of efficacy in therapeutic work for children.  It is well supported with extensive research.  


Meta-analytic reviews (a powerful analysis that combines the results of many studies) of over 100 play therapy outcome studies (Bratton, Ray, Rhine & Jones, 2005; Leblanc & Ritchie, 2001) found that the overall treatment effect of play therapy ranges from moderate to high positive effects. The review by Bratton and colleagues was conducted on 93 research studies, finding a large treatment effect size of .8 and indicating that play therapy was effective across a variety of presenting issues. Non-directive approaches were found to yield better outcomes than therapist-directed play approaches. Additionally, positive treatment effects were found to be greatest when there was a parent actively involved in the child’s treatment. Click here for a summary of these studies.

How does Play Therapy Melbourne demonstrate cultural sensitivity and safety.

Research supports that Play Therapy supports working with children of different cultures.  We ensure that we include culturally diverse toys in our Play Rooms so that children can feel culturally safe.

We respect all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—their customs and their beliefs. We also pay our respects to Elders past and present, with particular acknowledgement to the Wurundjeri-willam clan of the Woi wurrung speaking people, and the Wathaurong people. the traditional owners of the lands where our offices are located.

How does Play Therapy Melbourne demonstrate gender sensitivity and safety.

Gender variance is an umbrella term used to describe gender identity, expression, or behaviour that falls outside of culturally defined norms associated with a specific gender. Gender-variant expression, behaviour, and identity may present in childhood and adolescence in a number of ways, and youth with gender variance have unique health needs. For those experiencing gender dysphoria, or distress encountered by the discordance between biological sex and gender identity, puberty is often an exceptionally challenging time. At Play Therapy Melbourne we acknowledge that our clients come from many different gender identifications and sexual orientations. We work hard to provide a space where there is safety for clients’ individual gender identities and sexual preferences and aim to demonstrate that we value diversity by accepting, respecting and welcoming the differences between and within groups.  We work to create an inclusive environment which acknowledges differences between groups, but does not value one over another.

As an organisation we work to meet the Rainbow Tick Standards:

  • Organisational capability
  • Workforce development
  • Consumer participation
  • A welcoming and accessible organisation
  • Disclosure and documentation, and
  • Culturally safe and acceptable services.

How are parents involved in the therapeutic process?

We believe that no-one knows their child better than a Parent.  We are not the 'experts' on your child, you are.  We work collaboratively with you from the Initial Parent Consult, where together we identify our treatment goals, and we stay connected with you across the process.  We don't like to talk in front of your child about them, but we will meet with you at regular intervals (We suggest every 4 weeks so we have time to get to know your child, but you are welcome to schedule an earlier session).  At this time we will discuss progress and our reflect our observations. Our sessions give us a unique insight into what is happening for your Child, what are they specifically needing support with? What areas are they experiencing challenge in?  We are then able to share with you some strategies to support regulation and integration that we are incorporating into our work.   
We believe in working with Parents, shared insight into your Childs world allows us to explore and incorporate strategies outside the Play Room that will facilitate faster integration.  We are also happy to work collaboratively with Schools and Educators.  We do not believe in 'teaching' parents how to be a certain way.  We respect every Families individual goals and values and we will work with you in a strengths based approach. 
Parent Support Sessions

We celebrate, value and include people of all backgrounds

Genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies and abilities.

We provide a culturally safe and non judgemental environment which is sensitive to gender identities and sexual preferences.

We are a culturally safe organisation that works to ensure that we provide the best care for the children and families we have the privilege of working with. We are committed to safe and inclusive practice. We follow an evidence based approach and our Clinicians are allied health professionals who have completed Post graduate training in Play Therapy. The neuroscience of trauma and attachment, cultural wisdom and research guides our evidence based approach. Our Clinicians are allied health professionals who have a Post Graduate level qualifications in Play Therapy.

We are committed to working inclusively with families and caregivers, we acknowledge every family has the right to parent within their own values and we strive to acknowledge and support them with this framework in mind. We work closely with organisations and are proud of the work we have done with leading organisations across Victoria.

We proudly accept referrals from 

We are proud of the work we do with the following organisations and thank them for their support.
Melbourne City Mission
Elizabeth Morgan House