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Psych Central Professional

Self-Care for Therapists

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


Being a therapist is an amazing, rewarding, challenging job. As a therapist who also has a family and two other part-time jobs, it is extremely important for me to consider self-care. This is important for any therapist and really for everyone else to consider, as well. To live a healthy, fulfilled, satisfying life you must take moments out of your life to care for you. Listening to the cues of your body, your mind, and your inner being is essential to living a content and happy life. It is also important in order to be the best therapist you can be.

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3 Play Therapy Tips for Working with the Quiet Child

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

girl spies

Play therapy is an approach to therapy that allows children to express themselves, heal from hurts, and experience personal growth through the medium of toys and activities rather than words as is done through traditional therapy and most adult therapies.

Even though the process of play therapy is based on play and not words, sometimes verbal communication is still used in play therapy. It often helps the therapist to learn more about a child’s experience and helps the child express themselves when the child is able to use verbal communication while also playing with puppets, doing an art project, and/or using a sand tray.

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Bibliotherapy: 5 Benefits of Books for Kids

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


It is well known that children benefit academically from reading books. Schools require children to build reading skills very early on. However, even beyond the academic reasons for reading books, children can also experience other amazing benefits. The benefits can be experienced when children read books to themselves as well as when others read books to them.

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Why Kids Need to Play

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


It is so important for kids to have unstructured, free play time. In these days of schedules, routines, and many demands and responsibilities, it is increasingly important for children to be allowed to just play.

See the following reasons why children need to play (statements in italics retrieved from More Than a Toy).

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Help Kids Learn Anger Management Skills

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

In this video, Amy Wickstrom demonstrates an activity that can be used to help children manage their feelings of anger. The activity, “Angry Toilet Paper Toss”, is a fun activity that allows children an opportunity to relieve the negative energy from stress and frustration that may be experienced from typical life events or even more severe stresses.

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3 Play Therapy Techniques for Improving Self-Confidence in Children

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


In my experience working with children and adults, self-confidence or a lack of confidence can have a big impact on whether a person is able to overcome the challenges they are experiencing, such as fear and anxiety as well as other concerns. When a child builds their self-confidence meaning they believe in their self more, they become more assertive and more comfortable with themselves. This seems to generalize into many areas of their life including helping to subside their fears and worries.

Here are three play therapy techniques I find suitable for helping children to improve their self-confidence. Many play therapy activities can also be used on adults, as well.

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5 Attachment-Based Activities to Strengthen Parent-Child Relationships

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

I tried to teach my child with books.

He gave me only puzzled looks.

I used clear words to discipline,

But I never seemed to win.

Despairingly, I turned aside.

“How shall I reach this child?” I cried.

Into my hand he put the key:

“Come,” he said, “Play with me.”

Author unknown (adapted by Aletha Solter)

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Children who are displaying problematic behaviors such as having difficulty managing their emotions, having aggressive behaviors, or who often act whiny or needy may benefit from attachment-based activities. This is particularly true if the child has experienced challenges during the first few years of life. Attachment-based activities can also be helpful for children who may have experienced some trauma or even less severe stressful situations. These activities are even useful for well-behaving, happy children.

Attachment-based activities are essential and beneficial for all children (and adults, as well, which is a topic for another post).

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Anxiety Relief: 3 Activities to help Kids Manage Their Anxiety

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


Kids have a lot to worry about including meeting expectations from school, meeting the expectations of all the adults in their life, bullying, navigating natural life changes that come with things such as starting school, having a new baby sibling, moving to a new home, and simply growing up. And some kids have experiences that go beyond the typical life events. They may experience trauma, mental health disorders, physical health conditions, more-than-typical family dysfunction, or abuse.

As a therapist specializing in play therapy, I work with children with many types of presenting problems. One common concern is anxiety. Here are three techniques for therapists or parents to help children manage their anxiety. (I’m sure you are aware of this, but I just want to note that parents should not try to take the place of a therapist. If your child has more than the typical anxiety or has gone through a difficult experience, consult with your doctor or a therapist.)

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ADHD: Tips to help kids with ADHD improve focus (especially for when they go back to school)

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


The upcoming school year is getting closer and closer. All kids who are headed back to school will have to manage some level of transition. For basically all kids, this requires them to become more focused, more disciplined, and more organized. Kids with ADHD may have an even more difficult time with this transition particularly if their summer has allowed them much more flexibility, freedom, and less demands than the school year (as my son’s summer has).

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30 Small, Simple, yet Extremely Beneficial Parenting Tasks

By Heather Gilmore, LLMSW


Parenting doesn’t have to be a constant battle day after day. You can enhance your family life by simply implementing some small strategies that will have wonderful, lasting benefits for your children, yourself, and your family as a whole. Following are some examples of some small, simple yet extremely beneficial parenting tasks that you can implement daily.

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