Choices and Changes provides the following services:

  • Individual counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Play Therapy ( see details below)
  • Group therapy
  • Psycho-educational groups/classes
  • Psycho-educational materials/information
  • Consultation with schools, businesses or organizations who serve children and families

Choices & Changes provides a comfortable, supportive, and confidential atmosphere where people of all ages and backgrounds can work toward meeting the goals they establish.  The following are the types of issues or problems that people seek counseling for:

  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Depression
  • Behavior Disorders
  • Grief and Loss
  • Parenting and Family Issues
  • Trauma
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Coping/Adjustment issues associated with divorce, teenagers leaving home, job loss, etc.
  • ADD/ADHD Assessment and Treatment
  • Pre and Post Divorce counseling for both parents and children
  • Counseling of young children, adolescents, families, and adults.
  • Parent Training
  • Psycho-educational Groups for children, adolescents, parents, and adults

What is play therapy?

Play Therapy is a specific therapy model that allows the therapist to develop a relationship with clients to help them resolve difficulties through the use of therapeutic play and also to help them achieve successful development.  Research shows that play is essential to a child’s healthy development—mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

All healthy children play, it is the natural language of children.  Play is their form of communication and expression with toys as their words and play as the conversation (Landreth, 2002). Play therapy differs from regular therapy.  Therapists help children address and resolve their own problems.  Play therapy builds on the natural way children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world (Axline, 1947; Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002). Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn new ways of relating.  Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and facilitates developmentally appropriate expression of thoughts and feelings (Association for Play Therapy brochure).

Jan is a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) through the Association of Play Therapy.  This training includes 500 hours of supervised play therapy, 35 hours of supervision with a Registered Play Therapist Supervisors and 150 hours of continuing education approved by APT.

client art project during play therapy

client art project during play therapy

Our Approach to the Play Therapy Process

We will meet with the parents, or the persons who are primary caregivers, for the first 4 sessions without their child. This is so they can freely speak about the issues that the child and family are experiencing, as well as assess presenting challenges, past difficulties, future hopes and fears, dynamics in family relationships, and goals for treatment. If the child is a teen often they can come to this initial appointment since they generally are aware of why they are coming.

After these 4-5 initial caregiver appointments, we meet alone with the child for up to 6 weeks on a weekly basis, with sessions lasting around 45 minutes. Sometimes during the assessment phase we may schedule a session for the whole family to do a group activity. This helps us see if there are any family dynamics that may be affecting the child presenting at that time.

Almost always we let the child “lead the way” after showing them around the play room. The toys and activities are specially chosen to provide them with the “words” to express their emotions. Children are generally excited to be able to choose what they want to do.

We do not discuss the child’s problems or progress in front of them unless the child and therapist have already discussed what they are going to say to their parent/caregiver.

After several sessions, we meet with the parent/caregiver without the child to discuss observations, recommendations and progress toward the goals or the revision of the goals. This process continues until therapy is completed.