Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. Play is a natural part of childhood and is important in child development. Therapists use play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when they are not able to find the words to express their feelings. In play therapy, toys are like the child's words and play is the child's language. The positive and trusting relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions provides a safe emotional experience necessary for healing.
Through play, therapists can help children learn more helpful behaviors, understand their emotions, and gain insight about resolving inner conflicts. Through play therapy children also learn self-control, self respect, to express their feelings, problem solving, communication skills, and to modify problem behaviors.
Play therapy is beneficial for children ages 3-11, and can be used to address a wide variety of presenting issues. Some of the difficulties play therapy may address are anxiety, depression, life stressors, grief, family conflicts, divorce, school difficulties, anger, and much more.
So if your child is struggling at home or at school, is having difficulties with siblings or peers, seems angry, sad or worried all the time, is out of control, or you just aren’t sure how to help your child with their difficulties, play therapy may be the perfect option for your family.
Written by: Tiffany Noll, M.A., LPC, RPT
Licensed Professional Counselor
Registered Play Therapist