Play serves as a child’s most powerful form of learning and communication. In Play Therapy, children have the opportunity to express themselves in a safe, therapeutic environment whereby the play therapist observes and interprets the child’s play behaviors and emotional expression. Therapeutic play is a research supported, age-appropriate intervention suitable for a range of presenting issues including: anxiety, depression, inattention, acute stress, trauma, phobias, grief/loss, and divorce. Play therapy may also be used to promote pro-social character development and provide insights about inner conflicts in the child.
Play is the language. Toys are the words.
The positive relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions can provide a corrective emotional experience necessary for healing or simply provide support for the practice of self-regulation. Children learn from adults how to interpret and articulate their internal experience. The play therapist is trained to understand their actions and emotional patterns as a way of representing the challenges they face. Play therapy gives the child an opportunity to self-direct the specific play that she needs to cope with her personal feelings and/or big changes that happen in life.
For more information about Play Therapy, go to the Association for Play Therapy.