What is play therapy?
Play therapy is a form of therapy used primarily for children. Although people of all ages can benefit from play therapy, it’s typically used with children between the ages of 3 and 12.
There’s a bit of a communication gap between children and adults. Depending on age and stage of development, children simply don’t have the language skills of adults. They may feel something, but in many cases, they either can’t express it to an adult or don’t have a trusted adult to express it too. On the other end, adults can misinterpret or completely miss the child’s verbal and nonverbal cues.
Children learn to understand the world and their place in it through play. It’s where they’re free to act out their inner feelings and deepest emotions. Toys can act as symbols and take on greater meaning.
While it may look like an ordinary playtime, play therapy can be much more than that.
Since the child can’t always adequately express themselves in the adult world, I join the child in their world, on their level. I can then help the child explore emotions and deal with unresolved issues their own time, as they are not pressured. . Through play, children can learn new coping mechanisms and how to redirect inappropriate behaviors.
According to the professional organization, Play Therapy International, up to 71 percent of children referred to play therapy may experience positive change.
Each child is different, so therapy will be tailored to their individual needs.
Play isn’t just for kids, and neither is play therapy. Adults and teens can benefit too.