Play Therapy

Play Therapy

With a focus on play therapy for children and kids play therapy, Great Oak Counseling is a team of dedicated and highly skilled counselors. Inspired by the Great Oak tree, a symbol of courage and power, Great Oak Counseling serves children, teens, adults, and couples with symptoms of depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, and other mental health challenges. As professional counselors, the philosophy of Great Oak Counseling is consistent with the symbolism of the Great Oak and its patience, endurance and strength. We believe all people have the capacity to grow, be courageous and endure patiently and that we increase our capacity to heal and grow stronger through the challenges we experience.


Where can I find play therapy near me?

At Great Oak Counseling, conveniently located just off Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, our staff of counselors has advanced training and certification in many specialty areas, including play therapy. Our office is easily accessible from I-55 at Exit 99 or 96 and is designed to help you feel welcome and at home in a professional setting.


What is play therapy?

For the most part, children are able to best express themselves and the way in which they see the world through creative and playful means. Play therapy takes this into account and is an approach to counseling that empowers kids. Play therapy is especially helpful since behavioral problems, depression, anxiety, abuse, or trauma with children can traditionally be difficult to treat. Play therapy creates an environment in which children feel safe and comfortable. Through this environment, children are more free to express themselves in a full manner and therapists are given an opportunity to observe the children’s thoughts, behaviors, and thinking processes. This glimpse into a child’s world will help a therapist better connect with his or her patient in a way that allows great progress to occur.


Where does play therapy take place?

At Great Oak Counseling, we have a room dedicated specifically for play therapy. This is room is what we call “A Leaf Room”. This Leaf Room is equipped with play therapy tools and toys that will enable your child to engage in a therapeutic process to address issues related to mental health issues and behavioral challenges.


What should be expected during a play therapy session?

While conducting an initial intake or pre-therapy session, our therapists will often collect information about the patient and family in order to decide the best possible treatment approach prior to regular therapy sessions. Once play therapy sessions begin, children are often led into a specific play therapy room filled with play therapy toys and games. With little rules in regards to the use of these toys, children are able to better communicate and share insights into their world in a comfortable, familiar setting.


Who are the play therapists at Great Oak Counseling?

One of the therapists at Great Oak Counseling is Dr. Janice Ward. Dr. Janice Ward is a licensed professional counselor who has worked in agencies, clinics, and schools in the Southeast Region for 20 years. During her counseling sessions, Dr. Ward uses Person-Centered and Reality/Solution Focused therapy. Plus, she employs strategies and techniques from a variety of other counseling theories in order to meet the needs of her clients. With a passion for working with children, Dr. Ward is currently in the process of becoming a Registered Play Therapist. She has experience with clients of all ages and her areas of expertise include (but are not limited to) depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal ideation, personality disorders, mood disorders, PTSD, crisis, and grief/loss. She also works with children and a variety of childhood issues such as ADHD, reactive attachment disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and more. In addition, Dr. Ward has extensive experience in completing educational evaluations for learning disabilities.


I’m interested in play therapy. What should I do next?

If you think you, your children, or your family may benefit from working with a registered play therapist, please reach out to the team at Great Oak Counseling. To set up an appointment or ask for additional information about any of our services, please give our team a call at 573.271.2008 or send an email to We look forward to hearing from you soon and answering any other questions you have about play therapy for children.

Contact Us

For more information or to set up an appointment:
P. 573.271.2008