Play therapy is a developmentally appropriate counseling approach to working with children. Because children tend to naturally communicate through play, play therapy allows children to express themselves and ‘play out’ their feelings and problems. In play therapy, a specially trained mental health professional will work with your child in a play room with specifically chosen toys that the child can use as their words. Toys for expressing a wide array of emotions are selected, including toys for aggressive-release, creative expression, nurture, and real-life toys.
Who would benefit from play therapy?
Typically, children between the ages of 3 and 9 can benefit from participating in play therapy services. Research supports that play therapy is effective for treating a wide array of behavioral, social, and emotional concerns. Furthermore, play therapy is most effective when the parent or caregiver is actively involved in the counseling process. Play therapy can be helpful in the treatment of:
-aggressive behavior in the classroom or at home,
-grief/loss of a loved one,
-divorce or separation,
and many other concerns!
What to expect?
Prior to beginning sessions with your child, the play therapist will want to meet with you for an intake appointment. Although each play therapy session is unique, sessions are typically 45 minutes in length and are conducted in the play room. The play therapist will work to establish a positive relationship with your child before beginning to address identified concerns. Play therapists like to meet with the caregiver every 4-5 sessions for a consultation during which time the play therapist will update you on the progress of treatment as well as hear any updates on how your child is doing outside of play therapy. For more information about typical stages of play therapy, visit https://www.a4pt.org/page/ParentsStagesofThera
Helpful information and links:
Play therapy is an active counseling approach to working with children, and sometimes things can get messy! It’s a good idea to allow your child to wear clothes that can get paint on them.
Introduction to play therapy for kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmKxvTtSWoc
Introduction to play therapy for parents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onn_qF4pZ9Q