Play Therapy

Why Play Therapy?

Virginia Axline stated in her book, Play Therapy (1981), that play therapy builds on the natural way children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world.  Children learn, develop, and practice skills that are essential for their development through play (Russ, 2004).  All children play.  Play is the child’s language and the toys are their words.


Play therapy, in a counseling setting, is safe place for children to use toys to "work out" their problems, frustrations, feelings, and emotions.   Play therapy is a tool for children who have not yet developed their vocabulary to verbally express what they are feeling.  The toys are the children words and play is their language.  Play therapy is a vehicle for children, adolescents, and teens to feel free to express what they might be scolded for at home or school if they were to verbalize it outside the counseling setting.  Play therapy techniques are adaptable and work well with the young and old.  Play therapy is used with children 3-12, teens, adults, families, and the elderly.

Major Therapeutic Powers of Play


-Emotional regulation

-Relationship enhancement

-Moral judgement

-Stress management 

-Ego Boosting

-Preparation for life


By Charles E. Schaefer, 2008

Marriage and Family Counseling

Life can become overwhelming when couples are concerned with work, paying bills, providing for and taking care of the children along with all of their needs. Sometimes couples grow apart just taking care of responsibilities and put their relationship on hold. Marriage and family counseling can help rekindle the spark that was once there and encourage the couple to build a new meaningful relationship by practicing different skills and tecniques both in and out of counseling.

Family Counseling helps families learn how to come together to listen, respect, support, and increase more effective communication with family members with the goal of build loving relationships. 

Additional Specialties:
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a mode of therapy that helps address problems and difficulties with those who have experienced trauma in their life. Those who have experienced trauma may be stuck in those old patterns of belief.  EMDR is a technique that can assist individuals through processing their trauma and reforming the negative belief pattern along with reducing anxiety.

​Filial Therapy is a ten-week interactive program designed to improve the parent-child relationship. The parent(s) work closely with the counselor to learn techniques to help the parent understand and relate more to their child or children.

Communication Workshops this workshop is designed to teach the participants the importance of listening, reflecting, and clarifying with the person who you are talking. This class helps to improve communication in a couple's relationship, parent-child, friends, and work relationships.

Anger Management is a workshop that breaks down anger into small parts; defined and explored to gain understanding and insight. Many areas in the person's life and family history are examined as well. Calming techniques and healthier coping skills are taught. This program is an 8 week program.


A natural state of consciousness with certain identifying characteristics….


Deep physical and mental relaxation

Enhanced internal awareness

Heightened suggestibility to acceptable ideas

Enhanced mind Body Connection

Increase authentic control


Feeling Heavy

Feeling light

Slowed or shallow breathing

Eyelid flutter

Slumped posture

Delayed Motor response

Delayed verbal response

Increased wateriness of the eyes

Increased redness of the eyes

Hypnotic mask


In order to induce hypnosis we must….

  1. Excited the Imagination

  2.  Bypass the critical Factor

  3. Introduce a Suggestion

What really happens in the mind during hypnosis?

How does it work?

Let’s take the mystery out of hypnosis. It is a completely natural state of mind. Although you may not have been formally hypnotized before, you have experienced this state of mind countless times. You’ll understand that better when you know what it is that really happens in your mind during hypnosis.


For the moment, imagine dividing your mind into two parts. One is the conscious mind, those things you are fully aware of and focusing on at any given moment and the second is the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind works like a giant tape recorder. Every experience we have ever had in our lives is permanently stored there. Of course it would be too much trivia to be constantly aware of so you can think of it as a filing system that is accessible to us with hypnosis and other methods.


The subconscious mind also controls those bodily functions over which we do not need to exercise conscious control like heart rate, breathing, digestion, and so forth. With practice, you can gain the ability to bring many of these “involuntary” bodily functions under your voluntary control.


Imagine, if you will, a filter, screen or network that lies over the subconscious mind. I will call it the critical factor. You can think of it as a kind of protective mechanism so that every single thing we are exposed to does not become accepted as truth by the subconscious mind and become acted upon. In hypnosis we are purposely bypassing the critical factor of the mind so that ideas that are beneficial to us can make a deep and lasting impression on the subconscious mind.In hypnosis, the critical factor of the mind merely becomes less active through a variety of methods but it never disappears. It is simply less active and it will return to full activity should any suggestion be presented which your mind did not deem to be in its best interest.You are not a blank slate in hypnosis and you will not accept just any suggestion that is presented.


Think about sometime when you were watching a sad movie and maybe you were crying or at least feeling that some emotions were coming up. The critical factor was still active enough that you knew it was just a movie and yet it wasn’t bombarding you with interfering thoughts like “Why are you crying?This lady is not dead. You saw her on the Today Show this morning.” And yet, if your partner taps you on the shoulder and asks you if you want some popcorn, you can turn and respond and then instantly return to the movie and be right back into it again. We go into and out of our subconscious mind all day long.Every time we are involved in some creative endeavor, every time we daydream, every time we get wrapped up in our emotions, every time we drive along in our car and suddenly realize we don’t remember the last mile we drove, every time we are acting out of some previously formed habit.


It is estimated that we spend between 50 and 80% of our waking hours in our subconscious mind. I like to remind people that when we enter into that state of mind we call hypnosis that we are not going into uncharted territory where no human has ever set foot before. It is common and completely natural state of mind that we have all experienced countless times before; we just didn’t call it hypnosis.


How do I know I can be hypnotized?

Since hypnosis is a completely natural state of mind, there is no such thing as a person who cannot be hypnotized.  If a person is not comfortable with the goals of the therapy or with the person conducting the hypnosis, then they might not allow themselves to follow the instructions to reach that natural state on that particular day.


Will I know what is going on while I am hypnotized?

Absolutely!  Hypnosis has nothing to do with being asleep or unconscious in any way.  You hear everything, remember everything and know exactly what is going on the entire time. You are always in control!

I have seen stage shows where a person who was hypnotized did a lot of crazy and silly things.

Will that happen to me?

Absolutely not!  When a person goes up on the stage to participate in an entertainment show of hypnosis, they have a certain contract in mind.  They know that they are going to be asked to do a lot of silly things and they agree to that at some level of their mind.  If we were to b ring the “Star of the show” to my office for some clinical purpose, they would not respond to any of the suggestions which they had responded to when they were in the entertainment setting.  The context in which the hypnosis is taking place and the understood purpose of the hypnosis in the individual’s mind always determines the type of responses that can be elicited.  You cannot be caused to do anything in hypnosis that you would not ordinarily do.  And, of course, in a clinical setting all the suggestions would pertain precisely to the goal of you gaining more and more control in your life and accomplishing the changes you were seeking help with.

What will I feel like when I am hypnotized?

Actually, everyone has a different subjective experience so I can only give you some of the common reports.  Some people liken it to the peaceful feeling that they have just upon awakening on a morning when they do not have to get up right away.  They are fully aware of where they are and what’s going on but it is just very peaceful and relaxing to lie there; sort of a grey area between walking and sleeping.  Most individuals think that hypnosis should be more like the state of deep sleep itself where we are not consciously aware of anything.  They expect to “wake up” from hypnosis as they would from a sound sleep. Since we are never “asleep” in hypnosis, we do not need to “wake up” from it.  It is simply a very comfortable and natural state of mind which we enter into and then come back out of.

Think of it this way.  If we gathered a group of people around a swimming pool and asked them to enter in to the water, we would see a wide variety of methods.  Some people would head down the steps at the edge of the pool while other would test the waters gently with their big toe.  The same is true with a group of people entering into hypnosis.   Some will dive right in and enjoy a deeper quality of relaxation than they ever have before in their entire lives and they will love it.  Others will just gently test the shallow waters.  The point it, it doesn’t matter which you do.  You only need a light to medium state of hypnosis to bring about a positive behavioral change.



Information shared by Rick Boyes, Ph.D, LCPC



Getting Started

To make an appointment call 208-871-7040 or 208-515-7661


email Gail @



Average for sessions $125.00 - $150.00

90 minute session with new client & intake information - $150.00

50 minute session with individual, couple or family $125.00

50 minute session with individual, couple or family $125.00

50 minute Telehealth  session $125.00



Accepted methods of payment:



Card services available with 3% fee.





Please check with your insurance company before the first session to be sure of your coverage.


320 11th Avenue S,

STE 204

Nampa, ID 83751

Call Gail 



Email Gail@

© 2013 by Gail Peterson. Proudly made by

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now