Play Therapy

Play therapy is a therapeutic technique used with children ages 3 – 11. Free play interaction is the child’s vocabulary, and is a limitless language of self-expression. There are no specific rules in play as there are in verbal communication, and thus, allows the child to feel safe doing what they do best…PLAY!!

The pace of the therapy is controlled by the child and allows the child to expand the expression of self. Play therapy provides healing form hurts and trauma, and breaks down tension. Play therapy is conducted in a safe environment, which allows the child to express a variety of emotions.

Play therapy assists the child in learning to cope with anxieties and conflicts through their natural pastime of play.

The Creative Therapy Center utilizes Dr. Byron Norton’s model of Experiential Play Therapy and Garry Landreth’s Child-Centered model of play therapy. Both models are non-directive and work effectively with children.


Directive Play Therapy

The Creative Therapy Center specializes in Directive Play Therapy and counseling services for children who are diagnosed with:

  • Developmental & Cognitive Delays
  • Autism Spectrum

Directive Play Therapy can assist the child in:

  • Learning social skills
  • Managing anger
  • Expressing emotions
  • Identifying facial expressions
  • Increasing conversation skills
  • Understanding personal boundaries & space
  • Developing empathy

Parents are invited & strongly encouraged to participate in the Directive Play Therapy process.

Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health

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“Infant mental health” is defined as the healthy social and emotional development of a child from birth to 5 years; and a growing field of research and practice devoted to the:

  • Promotion of healthy social & emotional development.
  • Prevention of mental health problems.
  • Treatment of the mental health problems of very young children in the context of their families.

Adapted from a working definition Developed by Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families-Infant Mental Health Task Force.

How can The Creative Therapy Center help?

We can assist you in:

  • Identifying normal childhood development
  • Identify indicators of at-risk behaviors in your infant/small child
  • Provide support & counseling with Postpartum
  • Depression symptoms
  • Offer support in parenting
  • Assist in birth plan development

We can assist you in fostering a positive healthy relationship between you and your child that will continue a lifetime.

  • Biological (temperament, genetics, etc)
  • Parenting practices (socialization, nurturing, play, exposure to violence, etc)
  • Environments (prenatal, family, community, experiences, poverty, etc)
  • Relationships/Attachments (experiences, interactions, etc).

Filial Play Therapy

The Creative Therapy Center specializes in Filial Play Therapy and counseling services for children and their parents. Filial Play Therapy is designed to strengthen the parent-child relationship. Filial therapy can be used in families who have few or no real problems but the wish to strengthen their relationships within their family system. Filial therapy can also be used in families that are struggling with significant problems as well as families that are working on reunification.

In Filial therapy the parents work as a partner with the therapist to create a positive change within the family system. Filial therapy assists parents in developing skills in the areas of structuring, limit-setting and empathetic listening while engaging in
play with their child. Filial therapy begins in the office setting, but gradually moves to the home-setting, allowing the parent to have “special” play times with their child.

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Advantages to Filial Play Therapy

  • The parent has the relationship with the child and knows the child better than the therapist.
  • Parents learn the process of the play session.
  • Parents are the most important being in a child’s life.
  • Changes that occur in the filial play therapy are usually positive and long-lasting.
  • Parents gain a better understanding of their child through plan.

Somatic Experiencing®

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Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body-awareness approach to working with and addressing trauma events in an individual’s life developed by Peter Levine, Ph.D. “Somatic” means “of the body.” In somatic therapy we work with the stress and trauma symptoms that appear when our bodies get stuck in the survival stage (fight or flight, freeze and dissociation) of the Stress Response Sequence.

What Symptoms Can SE Address?

  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-harm behaviors
  • Defiance

Purpose of SE

  • Assist our bodies in moving through survival stage and return to a state of ease
  • Develop an awareness of our body sensations
  • Use awareness to guide our bodies through the Stress Response Sequence.

Sand Tray Therapy

Sand Tray therapy allows the client to explore and express their feelings in a “safe” manner. Sand Tray therapy assists the individual in discovering deep and underlying issues as well as developing coping mechanisms through the use of metaphor and symbolism. Sand Tray therapy is excellent for children, adolescents, adults, families and couples. Sand Tray therapy can access complex issues that standard talk therapy cannot. Sand Tray therapy utilizes a container filled with sand and a variety of miniature items. This allows the client to develop their own scene in the sand and speak to the scene in a metaphor. This approach is non-threatening and assists the client in identifying issues they are struggling with in their life.

Sand Tray Therapy at The Creative Therapy Center

The Creative Therapy Center offers an exquisite collection of sand tray miniatures. Each miniature has been carefully selected with the clients use in mind. We offer two different sets of sand tray miniatures; one for children up to twelve years of age, and one for adults. These two sets allows the client endless possibilities to their counseling sessions.



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Theraplay® is a child and family treatment for enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of healthy interaction between parent and child, and is personal, physical and fun. Theraplay® interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay® sessions create an active and emotional connection between the child and parents, resulting in a view of the child as worthy and loveable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.

Please visit for more information.

*Nicole Baker and Sarah Cross are trained in Level One Theraplay® and are providing interventions based on Theraplay® principles.  Nicole and Sarah do not conduct Theraplay® sessions.