Play Therapy isn’t Just Play
Play therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child (Association for Play Therapy, 2021). Children and teens often do not have the language to express what they are experiencing and play therapists therapeutically use play to help their clients to better express themselves and resolve their problems.
Your child will be able to express themselves through a language that feels more natural to them (Ray, 2011). Through play therapy, children can practice and experiment with new behaviors and skills and then initiate them in the real world. By playing out confusing feelings, children can bring them to the surface, get them out in the open, face them, and learn to control them (Axline, 1947).
Research suggests play therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem, and works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process (Association for Play Therapy, 2021). Play Therapy is not the same as regular, everyday play. While spontaneous play is a natural and essential part of the developmental process, Play Therapy is a systematic and therapeutic approach. Play Therapy incorporates a growing number of evidence-based practices and techniques (SAMHSA, 2014). Play Therapy is provided by licensed mental health professionals with graduate mental health degrees and extensive training, supervision, and education in Play Therapy.