When working with young children, I utilize a child centered play therapy approach. While children can experience deep and intense emotions, just like adults, they are often not yet able to verbally process complex thoughts and feelings sufficiently in order to experience relief. Play is a child’s language and the way they make sense of their world. It is for this reason that I utilize play to treat a wide range of childhood issues. 

Many parents might wonder how playing can assist their child with challenges such as behavioral difficulties, anxiety, depression, history of trauma, or difficulties with self-regulation.  While your child may describe that during session they, “just played,” there is so much more that has occurred. I am trained to observe and respond to your child during play in ways that encourage the exploration of underlying thoughts, feelings, and needs, while enabling them to feel safe, contained, and accepted while doing so. Play therapy assists children in feeling more comfortable wondering about their experiences, as opposed to actively avoiding thoughts and feelings out of fear they will be too overwhelmed. Play therapy also builds skills such as flexibility, problem solving, communication, perspective taking, managing strong feelings, self-regulation, adaptive coping, and more.

At times, more directive strategies during treatment might be warranted. For example, a child may require support in developing specific strategies to remain regulated and manage challenging behaviors at home or at school. It is my goal and priority to meet the individual needs of each child and family, and my treatment will be tailored to what will be most helpful and supportive to you.

I view collaboration with parents to be critical in achieving success when working with children. As parents, you know your child best, and I encourage and welcome the opportunity to work closely with you to identify the goals you have for treatment, answer any questions about my approaches to therapy, and continually revisit how effective we are in making progress during our work together.


Kristin S. Swanson, Psy.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist 6107G Arlington Boulevard Falls Church, VA 22044
(p) 914.772.1892 
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