What Is Play Therapy?
“Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self expression … It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as in certain types of adult therapy an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.” Virginia Axline
Play Therapy, a modality of child therapy, is a powerful tool for addressing cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges. Licensed professionals use play therapeutically to help clients better process their experiences and develop more effective strategies for managing their worlds.
(Canadian Association for Play Therapy)
How Does Play Therapy Work?
In order for children to feel better and improve their behavior, they need to make sense out of the stressful or traumatic experience and assimilate it into what they already know about the world. This is known as “processing” an experience and it usually involves expressing thoughts and feelings and coming to a new understanding about the experience, which then leads to behavior changes. This is similar to what an adult does in counselling by talking with a therapist. For children things are different. Talking about problems using words is often difficult for children. We do know however that children express themselves much better by playing than by talking. In play, children will use their imaginations and
express themselves symbolically through the toys. This means that experiences that have impacted the child in some way will show up as play behaviors. For example, a child who has been in a car accident may play by crashing toy cars together. A child who has seen his parents fighting may use puppets to act out these conflicts seen at home. In play therapy then, children are allowed to express, using toys, all the things they have difficulty saying, or may even be unable to say at all, with words.
Is Play Therapy Right For My Child?
To Find out if play therapy is right for your child/family’s needs, please contact us to be connected with a play therapist. Please note that Play Therapy is a highly demanded service, and as such, our Play Therapy specialists may have slightly longer wait times.