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Guadalupe Regional Medical Center Now Offers Registered Play Therapy for Children

Guadalupe Regional Medical Center is proud to announce Teddy Buerger Center clinician, Sunny Bao, LPC, has completed her three years of training to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). A Registered Play Therapist is a mental health professional with training and experience working with children and families through the use of play therapy. An RPT has met specific criteria and is registered through the Association for Play Therapy.

“After volunteering as a counseling intern in 2010 in a homeless shelter, I noticed that many adults were struggling emotionally, mentally and physically due to trauma and unresolved issues in their childhood”, said Sunny Bao, LPC. “That was when I started to be interested in helping children working through trauma and various life situations. I wanted to help children address issues at a young age, so as to prevent further problems in adulthood.”

Play therapy is generally used for children ages 3 through 12 years old with the goal to be able to better communicate with and help patients achieve optimal mental health. Some of the difficulties play therapy may address are anxiety, depression, life stressors, grief, family conflicts, divorce, school difficulties, anger, trauma, and much more. The therapist can then help the child explore emotions and deal with unresolved trauma. Through play, children can learn new coping mechanisms and how to redirect behaviors.

“I am so honored to see Sunny accomplish the stringent credentialing process to become a Registered Play Therapist,” said Chris Mata, LCSW and Director of Behavioral Health at GRMC. “The fulfillment of the credentialing process takes three years and is granted only to those who hold master’s level licensure to practice as independent therapists, 150 hours of continuing education specific to play therapy, and 35 hours of supervision.”

The primary goal of play therapy is to help children who might struggle with expressing themselves or their emotions to express themselves through play. Play therapists help children to make sense of difficult life experiences, or complex psychological issues through play. Play therapy can include interacting with sand trays, miniatures, doll houses, puppets, board games, art, books, and more.

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