Play Therapy Information

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is to children what counseling is to adults.  Play is the child’s natural way of communicating; just as talking is the adult’s natural way of communicating.   In the playroom, toys are used like words, and playing with toys is the child’s language.

Play therapy can provide children with some distance from which they can explore and deal with their feelings.  Words can fail them when they are experiencing these intense feelings.  Play therapy is used to treat problems that interfere with the child’s normal development.  Reasons for treatment include, but are not limited to, temper tantrums, aggressive behavior, difficulties with sleeping or having nightmares, experiencing anxiety, and dealing with loss and grief.

The aim of play therapy is to decrease those behavioral and emotional difficulties that interfere significantly with a child’s normal functioning.  Children communicate their thoughts and feelings through play more naturally than they do through verbal communication.  As the child plays the therapist begins to recognize themes and patterns and accommodates material that is important to the child in working through his/her feelings.

Who Benefits from Play Therapy
Play Therapy is especially appropriate for children ages 3-12 years.  Play therapy is the primary intervention used for anger management, grief loss, family issues or divorce, and trauma (for example a dog bite).  Play Therapy is also used for anxiety, depression, ADHD / ADD, Autism or Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD). 

Play Therapy Helps Children

  • Reduces anxiety about traumatic event in child’s life.
  • Facilitates a child’s expression of feelings.
  • Promotes self-confidence and a sense of competence.
  • Develops a sense of trust in self and others.
  • Defines healthy boundaries.
  • Creates and enhances healthy bonding in relationships.
  • Promotes appropriate coping skills.
  • Develop creative solutions and creative thinking