Play Therapy for Children
Play is an integral part of a child’s growth, development and emotional health and wellbeing. Through play, children learn about themselves, others, and their world. They also discover healthier ways to cope and process difficult emotions or experiences. This approach allows children to engage in the therapeutic process in a more self-guided manner with the support and containment of the therapist. The therapist structures the play activity while allowing the child the freedom and opportunity for exploration of the environment. A child’s play can help a therapist understand what is going on for the child emotionally and help the child resolve and work through problems or concerns.
Play therapy uses children’s natural language to give them the opportunity to communicate what is troubling them in an environment of fun exploration. It also helps build coping skills, resiliency, empathy, and better social skills. Play therapy can increase connections between the child and therapist or parent. In many ways play therapy with children is what “talk therapy” is to adults as children use play as a form of expression. Our therapists use art, puppets, sandtray, games, and toys to help facilitate your child’s play.
While play therapy is typically thought of as being used with younger children, older children can benefit from the integration of play into therapy as well. This can be an especially effective technique for children who are more resistant to typical talk therapy. Integrating play helps keep children engaged and involved in the therapeutic process and the therapist can work your child’s interests into the play to help draw them in and keep them engaged.
Play therapy can be used to treat the following:
- Behavior challenges
- Lack of empathy or respect
- Difficulties with problem-solving
- Emotional regulation issues
- Social challenges
- Tantrums and emotional outbursts
- Anger or aggression
- Difficulties with listening or transitioning