Meet our Allied Health Team: Tommie, Play Therapist

August, 2019

August, 2019

Thomasina (Tommie) Williams is a member of HenderCare’s Allied Health team. Working as our Senior Play Therapist, Tommie sat down to explain what play therapy is and how it can benefit children with a disability. In this brief Q&A, she covers the basics of play therapy and provides parents and caregivers with some tips about what to look for when selecting a play therapist.

What is play therapy?

Play Therapy is a developmentally appropriate approach for working with children. Because children’s language development lags behind their cognitive development, children make sense of their worlds through play. Play is a child’s natural language and Play Therapists are specially trained in this language. Play Therapists use play to communicate with children and assist them to express and explore their feelings, needs, behaviours and experiences supporting them to achieve optimal growth and development.

What are ‘directive’ and ‘non-directive’ play modalities?

A directive approach is one in which the therapist will largely direct the activities and pace of the play therapy session. Whereas, a non-directive approach sees the child take the lead and have more control in the direction of the session.

Do Play Therapists have to be qualified?

No. Currently, there is no minimum qualification to be a Play Therapist. Many people call themselves Play Therapists who have done little training. It’s essential when selecting a Play Therapist that you make sure you confirm their qualifications; ensure they have postgraduate training in play therapy or look for their registration with a relevant industry body like APPTA (Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association) or APTA (Australia Play Therapists Association).

What are some of the benefits of play therapy?

Depending on the needs of the individual child, your play therapist will work with you to set therapeutic goals. Examples of these goals could include: enhance and develop; relationships, play skills and self-esteem, improve; social skills, self-regulation and coping skills, assist with processing and expressing emotion, cultivating empathy towards others, and assist in developing new and creative solutions to problems.

Do I need a Doctor’s referral for my child to see a Play Therapist?

No referral is required.

Is play therapy available under my child’s NDIS funding?

Depending on the supports outlined in your NDIS Plan, you may have access to use your child’s NDIS funding for the sessions. Private paying families are also able to attend.

To find out more about HenderCare’s play therapy service, please call HenderCare on 1300 764 433 or head to our play therapy page by clicking here