ABOUT PLAY THERAPY
Kimberlee Daughtry, LPC-S, has almost completed all requirements as a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).
Why Play in Therapy?
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children (Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002; O’Connor & Schaefer, 1983). In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language (Landreth, 2002). Through play, therapists may help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are emotional or social skills deficits (Pedro-Carroll & Reddy, 2005). The positive relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions can provide a corrective emotional experience necessary for healing (Moustakas, 1997).
What Is Play Therapy?
Initially developed in the turn of the 20th century, today play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them (Axline, 1947; Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002).. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.
How Does Play Therapy Work?
Children are referred for play therapy to resolve their problems (Carmichael; 2006; Schaefer, 1993). Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools, and they misbehave, may act out at home, with friends, and at school (Landreth, 2002). Play therapy allows trained mental health practitioners who specialize in play therapy, to assess and understand children’s play. By confronting problems in the clinical Play Therapy setting, children find healthier solutions (Russ, 2004).
Who Benefits from Play Therapy?
Although everyone benefits, play therapy is especially appropriate for children ages 3 through 12 years old (Carmichael, 2006; Gil, 1991; Landreth; 2002; Schaefer, 1993). Teenagers and adults have also benefited from play techniques and recreational processes. To that end, use of play therapy with adults is increasing (Pedro-Carroll & Reddy, 2005; Schaefer, 2003).
How Will Play Therapy Benefit A Child?
Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems, including: children whose problems are related to life stressors, such as divorce, death, relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness, assimilate stressful experiences, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and natural disasters (Reddy, Files-Hall & Schaefer, 2005).
Play therapy helps children:
• Become more responsible for 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 thoughts and feelings of others.
• Learn new social skills and relational skills with family.
• Develop self-efficacy and thus a better assuredness about their abilities.
Play therapy has proven equally effective across age, gender, and presenting problem.
How Long Does Play Therapy Take?
Each play therapy session varies in length but usually last about 30 to 50 minutes. Sessions are usually held weekly. Research suggests that it takes an average of 20 play therapy sessions to resolve the problems of the typical child referred for treatment. Of course, some children may improve much faster while more serious or ongoing problems may take longer to resolve
(Landreth, 2002; Carmichael, 2006).
Copied from: Association for Play Therapy; www.a4pt.org/
The text above and the video below are by the American Association of Play Therapy and provide more information on Play Therapy.