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Calgary, AB — A certified Play Therapist, Dr. Valerie Kendall works with children through the medium of play.
Dr. Kendall says one of the things that makes play therapy so effective is that it is gives the child control. Children need and desire to be heard.
“My approach is to be non-directive,” says Dr. Kendall. “I’m following the child's lead and observing any emotions that may come up within the play. I'm just an observer. I will play, but only if I'm invited. I don't direct because they've had enough direction in my view. This half an hour that you give them is where they're in charge. They've got power.”
Dr. Kendall specializes in a type of play therapy known as “filial play therapy,” meaning the family is included in the therapeutic process. According to Dr. Kendall, one of the most important things we can do as parents is manage our emotions; everything we do demonstrates to the child how to behave. That’s why it’s so important to have parents engaged.
“Sometimes a parent leaves the child with me thinking somehow the therapist is going to cure whatever issue the child is struggling with and they're going to go have a coffee,” says Dr. Kendall. “I like to involve them. If the parent doesn't change their behavior as well, it’s much more difficult to achieve the best outcome for the child.”
“It comes back to the idea of trust, of safety,” says Dr. Kendall. “I use what I call the humanistic approach of genuineness and unconditional positive regard: being who I am and not putting on some act of someone different. That’s what children respond to.”
For more information on Dr. Valerie Kendall, visit www.thehealingspacecalgary.com