therapists in champaign, urbana & tuscola

Play Therapy

Therapeutic Play can take place in a special playroom, specifically designed to support these sessions for children. However, some children benefit from a simpler room with fewer distractions where a few tools (toys) and activities can be utilized. Play therapy is primarily used with children between the ages of 3 to 12 years old, where play can help them express their emotions and thoughts as their verbal communication skills may be more limited. It may look like playing, but there’s deeper emotional work happening in these moments. Play therapy can include the use of dolls, blocks, sand tray, musical instruments, board games, and more! 

Are you interested in play therapy for a child in your life? CONTACT OUR CLIENT CARE TEAM TODAY


Play therapy can help children who are going through stressful situations in life or have a change in their environment and need professional help on how to communicate and express themselves in a more positive way. Some of the most common situations include:

  • A change in their environment (whether that is a divorce, a move, a new school, etc.)
  • Struggles with academic learning
  • Difficulties with socializing with other children (or adults)
  • Experiencing a serious illness
  • Exposed to domestic violence or trauma
  • Showing signs of anxiety or other behavior disorders
  • Death in the family (needing help understanding grief)
  • Children who have been diagnosed with autism

If your child is experiencing any emotionally challenges or you believe could benefit from additional support, please reach out to our client care team to book your appointment.

How Therapy Works For Kids

Children and teens are still working to understand themselves and how their own perspectives compare to those of adults. They often feel they can’t change their situation because they answer to parents and other adults. Children may be initially resistant to the perspectives of their counselor simply because to the child the counselor is “just another adult.” Sometimes they feel embarrassed or think there’s something “wrong” with them since they’re in counseling. It can take time for your child so that they are comfortable with counseling. It all starts with trust. The early individual sessions will focus on building that trust and rapport. Therapy is like constructing a house. The therapist will first establish a firm foundation of trust and safety with the child to ensure they can then build a good therapeutic relationship on that foundation.


Every child is unique and therapists will address the specific and unique needs of each child. Part of this consideration is to look at not only the inner emotional world of the child but to also look at how they are functioning in their external world such as at daycare, school, and at home.

While it may seem like we are talking about “unimportant” issues or just playing, we are establishing a level of comfort and earning their trust so that they know we have a genuine interest in them. Once a child can talk about their interests (like music, sense of style, favorite games, friends, etc.) they will be more open to discussing the deeper issues. Therapists typically have a variety of therapy modalities and are likely to shift their approach as necessary to meet the needs of the child. They may use techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Expressive Therapy (music, painting, etc.), and/or child-centered Play Therapy.

Meet our therapists who specialize in play therapy

Emma Lorimor, LSW

Emma graduated from The State University of New Jersey, with an Illinois License in Social Work. In her previous work, Emma was a case worker at an institution called Family Core, and then became a teacher for nearly three years to continue working with children. She specializes in working with individuals who have been affected by foster care or adoption and have concerns with attachment issues, transplant issues, coping and adjustment issues, and family systems.

Rachel Bunyard, LPC

Rachel specializes in seeing kids, adolescents, and adults with issues ranging from victims of sexual assault, sexual violence, PTSD and trauma, drug and alcohol abuse, and substance abuse, as well as working with those who have anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. Rachel is eager to work with individuals with eating disorders and those who inflict self-harm, personality disorders, and Executive Functioning disorders.

Erica Allsup, LCSW

Erica received her degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Erica has accumulated professional experience dealing with case management in the foster care system, as well as working on an inpatient adolescent psychiatric unit. While her niche is with adolescent personality disorders and adolescent sexual issues, she also is well versed with trauma, gender issues, and counseling families.

Olivia Gray, LCPC

Olivia assesses and provides treatment for children and their families by utilizing her specialized training in Play Therapy, Sandtray Therapy, and Theraplay. She has worked with many children who presented with attachment and relational issues with their parents due to foster care placement, adoption, and parental substance abuse.

Brianna Rossbach, Clinical Intern

Brianna is our clinical intern and is specializing in treatment for children. She utilizes play therapy, expressive arts, and sandtray therapy when working with children.