Children are best served by play therapy, because unlike adults, they tend to process things and integrate challenges nonverbally. Play is their language and a means to feel truly heard. Through play, the therapist can understand the child’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Synergetic Play Therapy (SPT) is a research-informed model of play therapy that incorporates brain science, mindfulness practices, physics, attachment, and therapist authenticity. It is a holistic approach designed to help the body, mind, and spirit become more aligned and increase self-awareness from moment-to-moment. SPT is based on the premise that symptoms can be alleviated by helping the child learn to regulate the nervous system. When a person can engage the thinking brain to make decisions and is aware of the contents of the mind and the body in space, the nervous system is regulated.
“The hardest and most important lesson in life is to learn how to be yourself.”
– Lisa Dion, founder of SPT
The course of SPT begins with an orientation phase, where the child will determine if it is safe to show up as one is and will check to see that the therapist is doing the same. Once comfortable with the therapist, the child will bring a perceived challenge to the play room and begin working on it in therapy sessions. The Synergetic Play therapist will attune to the child to get a sense of their experience with the challenge and will authentically verbalize feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations associated to the challenge, while modeling the use of regulation techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness practices. By doing this, the child sees that the challenge is surmountable and learns ways to regulate through it. The child is considered to be in the empowerment phase of therapy, when they are practicing self-regulation techniques in therapy sessions 50% of the time. When they are practicing self-regulation outside the playroom, then therapy has concluded.