What is play therapy?
The official definition is, "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development." That's a mouthful! It basically means that play therapy is a therapy that helps children deal with and resolve their own problems through play. For children, Play is a child's language and toys are a child's words. Children learn about themselves and the world through play.
How does play therapy work?
The child comes into the therapy room and it is full of special toys that help them express their feelings, problem-solve, modify their behavior, and learn how to relate to others. Play gives them a safe distance from their problems and helps them express their thoughts and feelings under the supervision of a trained therapist. As the child plays, the play therapist assesses the child's play to understand what is going on in the child's mind and how the child is problem-solving or coping. Also, as the child plays, the child is learning to cope with difficult emotions and find solutions to problems. The therapist, through play, helps the child to change the way they think and feel about their problems and to find healthy resolution. Even the most complex problems can be dealt with in play therapy, and permanent resolutions can be discovered and mastered.
Who is play therapy for?
Play therapy can benefit people of all ages, but it's most appropriate for children ages 3 to 12.
What are the benefits of play therapy?
Play therapy helps children to...
- Become more responsible for their behavior and learn better strategies
- Find better solutions to their problems
- Gain respect and acceptance of themselves and others
- Experience and expression emotion in healthy ways
- Learn empathy and respect for the thoughts and feelings of others
- Learn social and relational skills with family
- Become more self-assured about their abilities
Contact us if you would like to schedule a free thirty minute consultation with a registered play therapist.