Play Therapy

Posted on October 9, 2012

What is play therapy? 

Play therapy is a creative avenue for children to explore and express their emotions.  Each item in a play therapy room is specifically chosen for emotional exploration.  Children often lack the words and thoughts to express their experiences and the play therapy room allows children to easily show their emotions through play with different toys. 

How does play therapy work?

Play therapy work is largely symbolic, therefore, a play therapist is trained to make meaning of the patterns, actions, and items children gravitate toward in the play therapy room.  For example, continual use of items like growling tigers or chomping sharks may help deal with child aggression or frustration.  A focus on “home” items like a kitchen may mean the child is in need of more nurture.  Play therapists continually observe and interpret play in the play therapy room and incorporate what they observe into the child’s outside environment for continual growth.

Is play therapy just playing?

Play therapy is far more than playing.  As stated above, each item in a play therapy room is specifically chosen to help children express and cope with emotions.  Many play therapists are direct with their children and incorporate specific activities into their work as child therapist.  Play therapists use a wide range of direct activities and relate these activities specifically to the type of struggle their child is experiencing.  For example, a child expressing anger and frustration may be taught how to slowly blow bubbles as a form of controlled breathing or how to stomp on paper cups to express anger in a controlled, non-threatening manner. 

Is my child right for play therapy?

Most children are an appropriate fit for play therapy.  Play is a child’s natural means of expression and the play room allows children to express their emotions in controlled ways to help grow healthy kids.

 

Written by: Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate at Groff and Associates Counseling.  Her passions are parent child relationships, grief and loss, and pregnancy related struggles.  If you are interested in seeing a counselor and think that Kristie would be a good fit, please contact her at kristie@groffandassociates.com.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==