What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that is strategically used to help children express what is troubling them. Play allows a safe psychological distance from their problems, which allows them to express their true thoughts and feelings in ways best suited to their developmental level. Research shows Play Therapy is beneficial for people of all ages. A positive relationship with the therapist provides a corrective emotional experience necessary for healing (Moustakas, 1997). Licensed professionals use play therapeutically to help clients better process their experiences and develop more effective strategies for managing their lives.
How is Play Therapy Different to The Play My Child Does on Their Own?
Play is a natural form of self-expression for children. Children use play to process their lives, cope and develop socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively. Sometimes children get “stuck” in their development and playing on their own isn’t enough to resolve their problems. They need help to use their play to make sense of their world and develop strategies to cope. Play therapists create a safe environment to fully explore their world including areas that they are stuck and past traumas that they are unsuccessful at resolving on their own. Additionally, play therapists are guides at helping to develop new solutions, get past areas that are overwhelming, and develop new perspectives of things that are troubling. Play therapists use many techniques to help children become “unstuck.”