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Dr. Valerie Kendall to be Featured on CUTV News Radio

CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA, November 5, 2018 / -- A certified Play Therapist, Dr. Valerie Kendall works with children through the medium of play.

“I'm trying to reflect back emotions,” says Dr. Kendall. “In some families, parents don't pick up on the emotion a child may be showing, but if you can reflect back what you're seeing emotionally, the child might elaborate a little more. I'm demonstrating this because I want parents to be able to do it too.”

Dr. Kendall says one of the things that makes play therapy so effective is that it is gives the child control. Children need and desire to be heard, but their opinion is often not taken into account.

“My approach is to be non-directive,” says Dr. Kendall. “I’m following the child's lead and observing any emotions that may come up within the play and through their play. I don't intrude. I avoid asking questions. I'm just an observer. I will play, but only if I'm invited, I don't direct because they've had enough direction in my view. This half an hour that you give them is where they're in charge. They've got power.”

This fundamental lack of power or control is most relevant in circumstances of parent separation or divorce. Sometimes parents who are separating will swear at each other, call each other names, yell at each other. If a child is having tantrums and showing a lot of anger, they have probably observed a lot of anger, which to them seems normal.

Dr. Kendall specializes in a type of play therapy known as “filial play therapy,” meaning the family is included in the therapeutic process. According to Dr. Kendall, one of the most important things we can do as parents is manage our emotions; everything we do demonstrates to the child how to behave. That’s why it’s so important to have parents engaged.

“Sometimes a parent leaves the child with me thinking somehow the therapist is going to cure whatever issue the child is struggling with and they're going to go have a coffee,” says Dr. Kendall. “I like to involve them. Sometimes it can work without the parent there, but I don't believe you can leave it up to someone else to solve these issues. If the parent doesn't change their behavior as well, it’s much more difficult to achieve the best outcome for the child.”

For the children, the therapy is a time to play; for Dr. Kendall, it's improvisational.

“I'm creative and I think on my feet,” says Dr. Kendall. “Whether it's a grown-up or a child, I do like to make it fun and reduce anxiety or fear. You might have a plan, but you've got to be creative and always ready to change your plan. You can't be rigid, in my view.”

Still, says Dr. Kendall, the most progress is made when you focus on that relationship first.

“It comes back to the idea of trust, of safety,” says Dr. Kendall. “I use what I call the humanistic approach of genuineness and unconditional positive regard: being who I am and not putting on some act of someone different. That’s what children respond to.”

CUTV News Radio will feature Dr. Valerie Kendall in an interview with Jim Masters on November 7th and November 14th at 4pm ET.

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio.

If you have a question for our guest, call (347) 996-3389.

For more information on Dr. Valerie Kendall, visit

Lou Ceparano
(631) 850-3314
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