Janet Muehe-Hayward LCSW #23749   (916) 708-0927

Play Therapy

Play therapy is appropriate to address symptoms of depression, anxiety, fear, nightmares, trauma, separation anxiety, grief and loss, impulse and attention deficits, environmental stressors (such as divorce, conflict within the home, moving to a new home/school etc) and emotional and behavioral regulation deficits.

As adult’s we often seek out a friend, family member or professional when we need to talk through things. However, children are more likely to act out their distress, frustration, fear, confusion or challenging life experiences with behaviors that maybe socially unacceptable, challenging, unproductive and concerning.

Play therapy will allow your child to use their natural language of play, within a safe and secure setting.

During a play therapy session, your child will have several options to play-out their world. These may include puppets, doll house with furniture/people, sand tray with miniatures (see more information about Sand Tray Therapy by clicking here), pretend play items such as hospital, firehouse, police station, arts/crafts, musical instruments, building materials and a carefully selected library. At times, it may be appropriate to incorporate bilateral stimulation as part of your child’s therapy. Please see the EMDR Therapy page for more information. 

During Play Therapy, your child will often demonstrate themes which will guide my interventions. 



My first goal will always be to support your child in experiencing therapy as a place where they are safe and secure. As I engage with your child through the play therapy process, I will learn how they view their world, how they express their feelings, and the meaning behind their concerning behaviors. 

I will help your child learn the necessary skills to manage their experiences, thoughts and emotions. At times, it will be important for you to participate in your child’s therapy sessions. These family sessions will be planned. Prior to a family session I will explain what your child has been working on and together we will determine goals for the combined session. Of course, we will maintain consistent communication throughout your child’s treatment.



I am currently in the process of becoming a Registered Play Therapist. I am well on my way to completing the 150 hours of training and 35 hours of clinical supervision required by the Association for Play Therapy. You can find more information about play therapy at http://www.a4pt.org/

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