Psychotherapist, Play Therapist
Lauren Como, PhD, LCSW Psychotherapist and Play Therapist, is in private practice in Portland and Saco, Maine. She received her clinical degree from The University of New England (UNE). She is currently completing her PhD from Smith College. In addition to providing outpatient therapy, she has extensive experience treating children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. She also has experience with employee assistance program counseling (EAP). She served as adjunct faculty in the School for Social Work graduate program at UNE. Lauren’s specialty is working with adults and children of all ages, including infants, working with attachment and developmental issues. She was on the board of directors for the Maine Association for Infant Mental Health and she worked as a consultant to pre-schools and child development services.
In looking at the complex relationship between body and mind, psychotherapy enhances our understanding of the role of emotions in health and medical illness. Psychotherapy is based on the understanding that often people are unaware of the many reasons that they behave and feel certain ways. These unconscious ways of being cause many symptoms such as feeling lonely, unhappy, anxious, impulsive, obsessive, and contribute to having difficulty in learning, working, loving and feeling good about one’s self. Through the process of establishing a trusting and caring therapeutic relationship over time, the individual learns to deal better with the realities of life.
Child and adolescent therapy helps one to reveal his or her inner feelings and worries not only through words, but also through drawings, fantasy and sand tray play. Parents are usually consulted to round out the picture of the child’s life. The goal of child and adolescent therapy is identify and work with the roadblocks that complicate normal development and to attain the highest level of functioning.
Play therapy is a systematic approach to gaining insight and awareness into a child’s world or interior landscape through their primary means of communication: play. It’s the way children best express their feelings. A skilled play therapist is aware of developmental stages and provides an array of materials that appeal to children of all ages. Play therapy rooms are specially set up to provide a sense of physical and emotional safety. Toys, activities and materials are carefully chosen to encourage expression of feelings and to facilitate the symbolic enactment of the difficulties children may be experiencing. Play therapy can be used to 1) address specific problems and also to 2) help facilitate positive developmental progress (“getting development back on track”). It is best seen as attending to both of these areas, not just one or the other.
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