Affordable counseling for children now available through UAB’s play therapy room

The new play therapy room at the UAB Community Counseling Clinic has expanded its services to meet the counseling needs of younger children.

PlayTherapyJoomla2Play therapy allows children to express experiences through purposeful play with a therapist.Children often use the language of play when communicating experiences with others. Play therapy provides an intentional environment, in which a play therapist creates a space where a child can process any experiences via play. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Community Counseling Clinic has expanded its services to offer play therapy to residents of Jefferson County.

“Research suggests that play therapy is effective in treating a wide range of emotional and behavioral concerns in children,” said Dayna Watson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB School of Education. “This program will allow us to serve younger children and expand on the excellent mental health counseling help we are providing to families.”

Play therapy is appropriate for children ages 3 to 10 who are experiencing a wide range of challenges, including mild to moderate behavior concerns, abuse, divorce reaction, anxiety and depression. A therapist will counsel children using toys, art supplies, games and other toys to communicate experiences through the language of play.

Toys are carefully selected to enable children to express themselves across a wide range of emotions and experiences. Children are allowed to play freely, while the play therapist attends to their play and responds as needed.

DaynaWatsonJoomlaDayna Watson, Ph.D., School of Education “To an untrained eye, a play therapy session may look like ‘just playing,’” said Watson, faculty supervisor in the UAB Community Counseling Clinic. “However, the toys are selected intentionally, based on the therapist’s responses, and how the play is understood or interpreted.”

Play therapists collaborate with children’s caregivers to address any family dynamics that need to be discussed based on the results of play therapy.

As with all clients interested in seeking services at the UAB Community Counseling Center, children seeking play therapy will complete appropriate screening and assessment protocols to determine whether the center offers an appropriate level of care.

Play therapy will be available by appointment. Fees for the clinic are assessed on a sliding scale, from $5 per individual session to no more than $30 per session. To schedule an appointment, call 205-996-2414.

The UAB Community Counseling Clinic provides affordable counseling services to residents of Jefferson County. Well-trained graduate students, supervised by experienced faculty members, conduct all counseling sessions.