Play therapy helps children communicate in their most natural language…PLAY! Just like adults, children need help coping with and explaining their feelings and experiences. Adults usually use talk therapy to communicate and process how they are feeling, but children simply don’t know how to explain with words, although they can express themselves through play. As a Certified Play Therapist, I have learned to interpret the meaning of play of children and teens by observing how they express their play in a safe and consistent environment.
While playing, children often reveal their thoughts and what is bothering them, as well as their unconscious worries, concerns and fears. Children oftentimes work through their experiences by developing meaning, learning to manage stress and their behaviors in the context of play, while optimizing healthy development. In essence, toys become the child’s words, and provide a way to communicate their thoughts and feelings in a non-threatening way. Play therapy is useful for helping to strengthen bonds between children, their siblings and their parents, resolve traumatic events, including abuse and domestic violence, and an effective way to process through strong emotions, such as anxiety and depression. Some of the benefits of play therapy include social-emotional competency, problem solving ability, developing coping skills and increasing self-esteem and self-concept. Some modalities that I might use include various games and appealing toys, sand tray and expressive art therapy. Play therapy is not just for children, it has been proven effective for teens and adults, as well!
If your child is experiencing any emotions or behaviors that you do not understand, or do not know how to handle, please do not hesitate to contact me to see if Play Therapy is a good fit for your child or teen.