What is play therapy?
In play therapy, children are invited to play with a variety of toys and materials to encourage emotional exploration and expression through the symbolic lens of imagination. The therapist creates a safe and engaging environment that both provides the unconditional positive regard needed to heal traumatic emotional experiences and allows developmentally appropriate space for children to comfortably explore significant life experiences that may be affecting behavior and health.
What are the benefits of Play Therapy?
Play therapy can be beneficial to all age ranges, though it is most useful for children ages 3-12. Play therapy has been used to address childhood behavioral and emotional issues including anger management, bereavement, academic problems, learning disorders, autism spectrum disorders, anxious or depressive symptoms, trauma, obsessive or fearful thoughts, compulsive behaviors, and family transitions.
How does Play therapy work?
During Play Therapy sessions, therapists can access the manners of play, aid children in the expression of thoughts and emotions that may be difficult to verbalize at early ages, and develop emotional regulation, coping techniques, and problem-solving skills. In addition to engaging in play therapy with the child, a therapist may provide additional consultation, counseling, and psychoeducation for family members and integrative care providers such as teachers and health care professionals. Through the process of child centered play therapy children can become more competent and confident in their abilities to manage distress, identify and verbalize emotions, explore creative solutions, develop empathy, tolerance, and social skills, and increase self-acceptance and self-efficacy.