Reflecting the child's feelings in Play Therapy is a new, conscious way for the child to experience emotions.
The Play Therapy therapist uses every opportunity during the session to build the child's sense of insight into their emotions. This allows the child to experience their emotions consciously in a natural and safe way. And it is absolutely not about the child naming them. This is unnecessary for the child's development.
The Play Therapy therapist's reflection of emotions serves several important functions for the child. First of all, it shows the child that the therapist understands them, accepts and respects all feelings, that the therapist does not judge which feelings are important and which are unimportant. They all matter because they belong to the child. The Play Therapy therapist is in the child's world, giving the child and his or her world conscious attention: listening to what the child says and feeling the emotions of the child's play. Everything matters to the therapist, who reflects the emotions: the child's verbal messages, the speed of the movements, the force of the strokes, the pressure, the space in which the child moves, the speed of speech and movement, the fluidity of the movements, the type of play, the colours, the materials chosen, the facial expressions, the eye contact, the touch, the type of toys. What the child does and what they don't do. Everything says something about the child's emotions, even silence or stillness.
The Play Therapy therapist reflects all the emotions he feels, that he observes in the child. It is easy to reflect emotions that are positive. Negative, aggressive, regressive emotions are mirrored by the Play Therapy therapist just as much as positive emotions, because he is aware of his own reactions to these emotions. Through training, the Play Therapy therapist deepens his or her self-awareness. When a therapist working with children does not have the right training, his or her reflection of the child's negative emotions is severely limited, as it is reduced to unconscious reactions to the threat he or she sees in the child's behaviour. The result is that the child's expression of emotions is inhibited, creating a false Self.
Reflecting verbally is the easiest to learn. A Play Therapy therapist can also mirror without words. Reflecting without words is safe for the child and more understandable. The therapist is able to do this by being completely in tune with the child. This is what is taught in training. This is why I encourage you to start a training course to make your therapy sessions with children an extraordinary journey of self-discovery for the child. Nothing interests a child more than knowing themselves and understanding themselves. This is probably why young children enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror so much...