Christopher A. Vaught, Ed.S., NCC, LMHC - Counseling and play therapy for children,

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your qualifications?
My formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Western Kentucky University, an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in Play Therapy from the University of Mississippi, and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the state of Indiana, a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a Certified Reality Therapist (CRT) and have been helping people for over 10 years. I am a member of the Association for Play Therapy (APT), the Indiana Counseling Association (ICA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA). 

I am also an Adjunct Instructor for the University of Southern Indiana as well as the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. I teach psychology courses, including courses in Abnormal Psychology (diagnosis and treatment of mental illness) and Human Development, among others.

When does a child need therapy?
Therapy can be beneficial to children who are dealing with death, abandonment, or abuse. Children who are experiencing difficulty adjusting to moving, starting school or divorce can find emotional support in therapy.  All children, from time to time, exhibit what adults may call “abnormal behavior.”  When a child exhibits the same abnormal behaviors over a long period of time or when a child exhibits several abnormal behaviors at once, it’s wise to seek help.  

The first step would be to have the child evaluated for a physical cause to the abnormal behavior.  If there’s no indication of a physical cause or if medical treatment does not eliminate the abnormal behaviors, therapy should be the next step.

What is Play Therapy?
Play is the language of children and play therapy is a treatment approach that uses a child’s natural tendency to “play out” their reactions to life situations. Toys in a play therapy room include games, puppets, art supplies, and sand trays. All toys are carefully selected to facilitate creative and emotional expression from children.  

Play therapy teaches children how to identify and recognize their feelings. It improves their self-concept, reduces anxiety and initiates behavioral changes. By making appropriate choices in the play room children find solutions to problems and learn self control which leads to taking responsibility for their actions.
The role of the play therapist is to provide an environment where a child feels safe to play out his or her concerns. As a result, the therapist can assess the child’s play and make recommendations to parents concerning plans for resolving problems.

What is the family's role in the sessions?
Effective work with a child depends on parental support and participation. Sessions for parents only will be held periodically to update you on your child’s play therapy progress.

I will share with you the general themes your child is expressing in play therapy and offer suggestions for how you can support and encourage your child at home.
You will have an opportunity to provide me with information about significant changes in your child's behavior as well as to update me on important events that have occurred between play therapy sessions using the journal feature of this website.

What should I tell my child prior to the first session?
"Since things aren’t going so well for you at home (or at school) we thought you would like to have some special play times with a therapist named Chris. He has a playroom with a lot of toys that you can play with in a lot of different ways. Chris will not make you do anything that you don’t want to do and you will be able to choose when you want to say something. Your play times with Chris will usually happen at the same time each week. Sometimes Chris will need to talk to us about how you are doing. His main goal is to make sure you are as happy as you can be."