What is play therapy? – A play therapist explains

Therapist and child

Play therapy helps children work through their feeling and thoughts in the “language: they know best: play.

What is Play Therapy?

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ~ Plato

Play therapy is a therapeutic medium used by therapists who work with children. Children cannot always express themselves and speak about their feelings. Play therapy helps children to work through their feelings and thoughts in a safe place, through a “language” they know best: play.

 

Play therapists sometimes use specific techniques with children to assist them with expression of feelings, wants and needs, namely clay work, sand tray work or drawing, painting and writing, but normally the child will guide the therapist to facilitate his own healing through what he enjoys doing and at his own level and pace.

 

Play therapy is usually helpful for children between the ages of 3 to 12 years. It has been proven to assist children in coping with:

 

  • Bullying/aggressive behavior
  • Moving house
  • Trauma
  • Death of a loved one
  • Symptomatic behaviour (anxiety, bed-wetting, fatigue)
  • Parents separating or divorce
  • Low self-esteem
  • Abuse (sexual, physical or emotional)

 

In play therapy, children learn to accept themselves, to express their feelings in a responsible way, to accept responsibility for their feelings, more self-control, to make choices, and to be responsible for those choices. It is through learning these valuable skills that children are better able to cope with whatever difficulty they have to face in their lives.

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