"Play is a child's natural medium for self-expression."
What is Play Therapy?
The Association for Play Therapy defines play therapy as the "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." Children tend to express themselves through their behaviors. Because children do not communicate their thoughts and feelings in the same ways as adults do, it is important for therapists working with children to communicate in a developmentally appropriate language: the language of play. Through play a child is able to express themselves more wholly, honestly, and openly. Play therapists are trained mental health professionals that use the medium of play to assess and treat children exhibiting a wide range of concerning behaviors. The play therapy room is equipped with a specific range of toys and art materials that are intentionally selected for therapeutic purposes. Play therapy has been shown to be effective in addressing the following concerns:
grief and loss
anger management/aggression/acting out behaviors
trauma/abuse and neglect
anxiety and stress
Benefits of Play Therapy
Play therapy has a multitude of potential benefits and research has shown effectiveness of play therapy across age, gender, race, and presenting problem. Some of the benefits you can expect children to experience in play therapy are:
self-control and self-direction
self-respect and self-acceptance
decision-making and responsibility for choices/responsibility for self
creativity and self-reliance in confronting problems