Children like to play! Children are often unable to understand and talk about feelings the way teens and adults do. In play therapy children are provided with a variety of ways to express themselves including art play, dramatic play, fantasy play and sand play.
What is play therapy?
Play therapy is an effective way to work through behavioral or emotional concerns with children (and even sometimes adults and adolescents). Play therapy is a special process focused on children’s need to express themselves through play and toys. In play therapy trained therapists are able to strategically use play as a vehicle for helping children express their thoughts, feelings and struggles in a safe and nonjudgmental environment. Through play therapy children are able to recreate emotional experiences they are struggling with internally. As the process progresses, the child’s play evolves until they gain understanding of the situation.
Play therapy has the following benefits:
- It provides a safe and non-threatening space for children to express their emotions.
- The therapy can be modified so it is developmentally appropriate for each child.
- Children can learn how to constructively express their thoughts and feelings.
- It fosters decision-making and acceptance of personal responsibility.
- Children can develop problem-solving, coping and social skills.
- It supports emotional healing and growth.
- Children are able to learn from mistakes in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
- It encourages self-efficacy, positive self-esteem and creativity.