Play is a child's first language and the medium in which they are able to most fully and directly communicate their thoughts and emotions. This humorous video is an example of why play therapy is vital in working with children.
What is play therapy?
Play therapy is a type of mental health service provided primarily to children where a specially trained therapist utilizes toys, games, and art supplies to help children reach social, emotional and behavioral goals.
How does play therapy work?
Play therapy is not just play. Play therapy utilizes the natural inclination of children to engage in play and games to assist them in solving their own problems. Through this process, children learn to express emotions, modify behaviors, learn to communicate with others and build social skills. The play therapist helps guide and support the child in this process.
Will play therapy help my child?
Play therapy can be effective for a number of issues including anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity, autism spectrum, oppositional defiant and conduct disorders, anger management, crisis and trauma, grief and loss, divorce and family dissolution, academic and social developmental, and physical and learning disabilities.
What is the role of parents/family in play therapy?
The role of parents will look different depending on the child, the reason for therapy and the therapist providing the service. Parent(s) will be present for the initial appointment where presenting concerns and goals for therapy are addressed. While the following sessions may focus on the child, parents may be invited to join in sessions with the child, meet with the therapist for a parent consultation session, or provided updates about the progress of therapy. Be sure to ask the clinician about your role in supporting your child in therapy.