What is Play Therapy?
Updated: Sep 25, 2018
Play Therapy is a form of counseling designed to meet the unique needs of children between the ages of three to ten.
Anyone who asks a child “How do you feel?” or “Why did you do that?” will soon learn that children have difficulty verbalizing their feelings, motivations, and experiences. Children are not yet developmentally able to communicate at this advanced level. Play Therapy, therefore, uses children’s natural “language” – play – to help them express themselves in a way that feels natural and nonthreatening.
In Play Therapy, children are given a safe, caring environment and a variety of materials which encourage self-expression.
These items can include toys, art materials, sand trays, and puppets. With the aid of a trained therapist, children are able to communicate, process, and heal from a variety of emotional stressors. Areas of treatment include:
Play therapy provides children with the opportunity to express themselves while simultaneously developing a greater sense of self-control. Parents can help in this process by working with the therapist to understand their child’s unique world experience, and by providing unconditional love and support. When children are able to verbalize and work through emotional stressors in this manner, negative feelings and problematic behaviors decrease.