Meet a Local: Liz Esch and Walk Talk Play Therapy

There’s a new option in the Beaufort area for people seeking adult, teen and child counseling services. Liz Esch, a native of Edwardsville, Illinois, has recently opened a mental-health practice at 1203 Paris Avenue in Port Royal specializing in play therapy and walk & talk counseling services.

A licensed social worker and a registered play therapist, Esch graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with a degree in psychology.  She received her master’s in social work from the same school, and worked with children, teens, adults and families in a variety of therapeutic and mental health capacities for some 15 years before moving to Beaufort from the Champaign area.

Play therapy is a widely used form of counseling or psychotherapy in which play is used as means of helping children express or communicate their feelings. While it is often thought that it works best for kids 3 to 12 years old, Play Therapy is truly beneficial for teens as well and even some adults enjoy the therapeutic power of play.

“Play is the natural language of children of all ages and provides a window to their soul like no other,” says Esch. “The power of play allows the play therapist to meet your child or adolescent in their comfort zone and on their level. Play therapy is not simply the use of dolls or crayons, but is truly an approach integrating art, sand tray play, music, clay, puppetry, drama, dance and creative writing into the therapeutic process.  By doing so, the maximum benefits of therapy can be experienced by those who might not be successful with traditional talk therapy.”

Play therapy is an approach integrating art, sand tray play, music, clay, puppetry, drama, dance and creative writing into the therapeutic process. Photo courtesy Liz Esch

“Walk and talk counseling is beneficial for lots of folks, she said. “In many ways Walk and Talk is very similar to traditional talk therapy, but it combines the benefits of a traditional talk session with the action of taking a pleasant  walk outside.”

Why Beaufort?  We asked.

“That’s an easy one. In Illinois you have at least 5 months of snow and ice. I longed for a warmer climate and found that the paradise of the Lowcountry was just perfect and we got here as quick as we could,” she said. “Our favorite thing about the area has to be Hunting Island Beach. The quiet serenity and tranquil beauty is just amazing and replenishes the soul. Now as a mother I enjoy the beach even more as I get to watch the joy and wonder in my daughter’s eyes as she experiences all that the beach has to offer, and it’s just remarkable.”

According to Esch, play therapy has been an accepted practice for many years now.  “Children lack the ability to clearly communicate what is going on at a young age and playing is always something they can understand. It tells us how they see the world around them.”

Esch said play therapy can help children struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, grief & loss, abuse, anger management, behavior disorders and grief, among other mental-health issues.

There’s a new option in the Beaufort area for people seeking adult, teen and child counseling services with the opening of Walk Talk Play Therapy at 1203 Paris Avenue in Port Royal.

“I’m thrilled to join the community with my private practice here in Port Royal,” said Esch, “and offering a service which can positively impact the health and development of local children.”

Also, this week, February 4th through the 10th is National Play Therapy Week. This is a time to highlight and promote the importance of play therapy, credentialed play therapists, and educational outreach by the Association for Play Therapy. 

In celebration of National Play Therapy Week, Esch is waiving her initial assessment session fee (a $150 Value) on any appointments booked by February 10th

You can learn more about Liz and about play therapy and walk & talk therapy by visiting her website here.