Play Therapy

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is a form of counseling or psychoterapy that uses play to communicate with and help people, especially children, to prevent or resolve psychosocial challenges.  This thought is to help them towards better social integration, growth and development, emotional modulation, and trauma resolution.

Why play therapy for children?

Children like to play.  Children are unable to understand and talk about their feelings the way adults do and this makes adult therapies inappropriate in meeting children's unique needs.  Play becomes therapeutic to children as they give expressions to their experiences and emotions.  Children can recreate in play the experiences that are part of their anger, fears, sadness, or frustrations currently influencing their behaviors.  A benefit of play therapy is that children can recreate therapeutic play at their developmental level.  The relationship with the therapist allows a sense of security when recreating emotionally stressful experiences.

What happens in play therapy?

Through the play therapy process children create play that resembles the emotional experience they are struggling with internally.  These experiences usually cannot be expressed verbally.  Children will select toys that means something to them to include in their play and use those toys to recreate issues that represent emotional conflicts that are important to the child.  Beginning with this expressions, the child's play evolves until the child gains a sense of understanding and comfort over this situation.

How can play therapy help?

Children can change their personal view of events in the world and begin to better enjoy their interactions with others though play therapy. When children recreate their frustrations or disappointments and then change the experience of that situations in their play, they begin to enjoy more of their play experiences and therefore, more of life's interactions.  This leads to higher self-esteem and more enjoyment of activities with family, friends, and peers.

How long can play therapy take?

Play therapy is a process that can take some time to get through, this depends on several factors.  The two most important factors are the developmental stage of the child and the second is the age of the child at the onset of the issue.