Play Therapy Canada

Deciding what to do if a child has an emotional or behaviour problem

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The following guidelines may help you to decide what to do if you know a child or children with emotional, behaviour or mental health problems.

If you are responsible for a child
If you work with children
If you manage a school, home, care centre etc

Parent or carer

Does the child have an emotional or behaviour problem?

No  - allow the child plenty of time to play

Yes - how severe are the problem(s)?

Slight or  Mild

Is the child under 3?

Between 3 and 14?

Consider filial therapy

Consider therapeutic play or play therapy

Moderate or a number of mild problems

Over 3 years? 


Over 14 years?

Consider play therapy


Consider counselling - talking therapy


Over 3 years and under 14

See your doctor for a referral to a child psychotherapist etc

How to identify the severity of a problem (guidelines)

See also Guidelines for Referral based on observation of play (PTUK web site)

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If you work with children

Do you wish to acquire therapeutic play skills or become a play therapist? 

Personal Qualities Required

Consider becoming a member of PTC


If you manage a school, home or centre for children

Ask PTC about ways of introducing or extending an emotional support service to supplement academic and behaviour support services.  See the latest research results in our news page. Also professional support services.

Alternatively ask your local Play Therapist, or PTC about our informative workshops for setting up managed play therapy services and corporate membership. Email: ptireland@aol.com

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