What is a Prelicensed, Master’s level clinician?

At the Mossman Play Therapy Center we selectively choose our prelicensed clinicians based on their years of experience working with children, and their specialized training working with a wide range of clinical concerns. Our prelicensed clinicians are therapists who have completed their Master’s program and have a graduate degree in either social work or mental health counseling. Both the social work board, and the mental health counseling board in MA, require master’s level clinicians to earn a specific amount of clinical hours prior to applying for their independent licensure. These clinicians are under the supervision of one of our independently licensed providers who is credentialed with the insurance panels we are in network with. Our supervisors meet with our prelicensed clinicians weekly to review cases. It is truly getting two clinicians for the price of one!

What types of issues do you work with?

We work with a wide range of issues including but not limited to: Trauma, adjustment, behavioral concerns, sleep difficulties, family conflicts, grief, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, school issues, and parenting stress.

How can play therapy help my child with their problems?

We may use many different treatment models in our sessions with clients, and develop treatment plans specific to each client’s needs. However, it is play therapy that is used most often and is the most misunderstood. Often times we hear questions like “Why would I bring my child to therapist that is just going to play games with them?” or “How can playing with puppets possibly help my child behave better in school?.” Play is the way that children process the world around them. It is how children learn to manipulate, adapt, and respond to their environment. It is important to know that play therapy differs from regular play that your child may engage in at home. Play therapy is play that is led by a trained therapist to aid a child in confronting and resolving specific issues. Play therapy provides children with a safe psychological distance from their problems so that they can fully express their thoughts and feelings. Through the use of play in therapy children are better able to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem solving skills, learn how to relate to others, and improve self esteem. According to the Association for Play Therapy:“Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems, including: children whose problems are related to life stressors, such as divorce, death, relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness, assimilate stressful experiences, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and natural disasters (Reddy, Files-Hall & Schaefer, 2005). Play therapy helps children:

  • Become more responsible for behaviors and develop more successful strategies.
  • Develop new and creative solutions to problems.
  • Develop respect and acceptance of self and others.
  • Learn to experience and express emotion.
  • Cultivate empathy and respect for thoughts and feelings of others.
  • Learn new social skills and relational skills with family.
  • Develop self-efficacy and thus a better assuredness about their abilities.

Meta-analytic reviews of over 100 play therapy outcome studies (Leblanc & Ritchie, 2001; Bratton, et. al., 2005) have found that the over-all treatment effect of play therapy ranges from moderate to high positive effects. Play therapy has proven equally effective across age, gender, and presenting problem. Additionally, positive treatment effects were found to be greatest when there was a parent actively involved in the child’s treatment.”

There are a lot of clinicians that report that they use play in their sessions, how are you different?

Play therapy and play based interventions are very different approaches to therapy. The Association for Play Therapy defines play therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.” More simply put, play therapy is an understanding that play is a child’s natural language, and if we communicate with them through that language we can facilitate change. With play therapy, the play is the intervention and the tool that a child and their family uses to begin to understand the child better.

Play based interventions however typically have a different purpose. Often clinicians will use toys and play to help the child relax so that they will be more open to answering questions and engaging in verbal communication. With play based interventions the play is a means to an end (talking).

Here at the Mossman Play Therapy Center, all of our clinicians use play therapy rather than play based interventions. We have studied and understand how a child’s brain develops. We use that understanding to apply play therapy interventions that are developmentally appropriate for each child that we see. Just as we would not go to a foreign country and expect that the people we encounter there would convert to our native language, we do not engage children with the expectation that they will communicate with us in a manner that makes us as the adult more comfortable. Rather, our clinicians are trained to understand your child’s language of play and communicate with them in whatever place that they are at through that language.

Am I involved in my child’s sessions?

Yes. No one knows your child better than you. We rely on you to provide information about how your child is doing, and to bring up any concerns you may have. Throughout your child’s treatment your child will be learning new skills and techniques that we will ask them to practice between sessions. Often, after your child has learned these skills in session with their clinician, we will invite you into session for your child to teach you what they have learned. We will also ask you to practice certain activities with your child between sessions because with practice and your support your child is more likely to master certain skills.

What if I do not want my child in therapy but I myself feel I could use support?

Let’s face it, parenting is hard and it is incredibly stressful at times. There are many reasons why a parent may want to engage in services but not have their child be seen; it is possible your child may be in services elsewhere, or in fact your child may not be in need of therapy, That does not mean that you can not engage in services to learn new parenting techniques, or to manage the stress of parenthood. Often times when a family goes through a stressful event there is a period of instability as everyone attempts to find their footing. Maybe your child is not showing any outward signs of difficulty but you have questions about what to expect, or you yourself are experiencing intense emotions over what has occurred and you want to process it and understand your feelings about it. Our children look to us to model how to be healthy, it is crucial that parents take the time to care for themselves first so that they can best provide for their children.

You talk about involvement of schools and doctors, how can that help?

Children do not exist in a vacuum. It is unlikely that a child is only experiencing issues in one setting and is functioning perfectly everywhere else. Often times, by communicating with a school or a doctor or others in an individual’s support system we can gather a greater understanding of the issue at hand. Also, the more supports a person has and the more consistency that exists for a person, the greater the likelihood they will respond positively to treatment.

What if I do not want anyone such as the schools or my family doctor involved?

Of course, the right to confidentiality is yours. If you do not wish to involve collaterals in your treatment we can discuss this in session. You have the right to refuse consent. Also, should you decide to give consent, you have the right to withdraw it at any time.

What if I want medication for myself or my child?

The Mossman Play Therapy Center does not prescribe medication. There are times, however, when a person presents with specific symptoms that interfere with their ability to fully engage in the therapeutic process. It may be necessary to take medication to get through an immediate crisis, or to use medication long term to effectively cope with enduring mental health issues. If this issue arises we will discuss it, and if it is decided medication may be helpful we will provide you with a referral to a prescriber.

What forms of payment do you accept?

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA
  • Harvard Pilgrim
  • Health Plans
  • Optum Health
  • Tufts Commercial
  • United Health Care
  • United Behavioral Health
  • Out of Network
  • Self Pay

Please note that some policies allow for out of network benefits while others do not. It is important that you contact your insurance carrier regarding your specific policy. If you prefer not to use insurance, we accept self-pay (Cash, Check, Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover). All rates are available in the Rates & Fees section.