Play is vital to human development, learning, and connection with others. Research shows that play builds trust and mastery, reduces anxieties, and promotes creative thinking and exploration of problem-solving strategies. Play also provides the opportunity for kids to practice regulating their emotions, encourages them to communicate openly with one another and socialize, and it can increase a child’s self-esteem.
Play is the first language we use to learn, build, grow, and communicate. Understanding that children do not have the verbal skills to express their thoughts and feelings as most adults do, play therapy allows children to communicate and learn through play, rather than verbal responses typically seen in adult-appropriate talk therapy.
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapists, who understand the development of a child, create healing opportunities while the child is engaged in play. The relationship connection, the use of playful therapeutic intervention, and the personal engagement of the therapist all invite children to express and process their feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Children are often expected to utilize verbal skills to express their experiences and feelings but that is not their most natural language.
Play Therapy can be used to address and prevent cognitive, emotional, and behavioral challenges that a child may be experiencing. Through play therapy, children learn more effective ways to make meaning of their world, to cope, and understand and practice regulating their emotions. When engaged in play in a safe and accepting environment, children learn their own internal resources and their own potential for taking care of their feelings in and out of the playroom.
What does Play Therapy help?
Play therapy helps children:
- Become more responsible for their behaviors and develop more successful strategies
- Develop new and creative solutions to problems
- Develop respect and acceptance of self and others
- Learn to experience and express emotion
- Cultivate empathy and respect for the thoughts and feelings of others
- Learn new social skills and relational skills with family
- Develop self-efficacy and a better assuredness about their abilities
Is Play Therapy for only very young children?
No. Although it is generally used with kids from 3 to 12 years-old, research shows that Play Therapy is effective regardless of the individual’s age, gender, or nature of the problem.
What is parent involvement like in Play Therapy?
Play Therapy has shown to be most effective when a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process. Working with the therapist, parents can share their concerns, monitor progress at home, and practice better parenting skills that model to their child that they are there as support. Parents can choose how much they participate, or they can utilize their own parent coaching to better support their child's progress.
Play therapy aims to help a child’s growth and development. The practice of play therapy requires extensive, specialized education, training, and experience. With our knowledge and backgrounds, We are confident that we can set your child up for success.
If you’re interested in learning more about play therapy and how it can help your child grow, contact us today for a free consultation.