Play Therapy is a deeply respectful, heartful and effective form of counseling and psychotherapy for children from 3-16 years old. It is a humanistic Play Therapy modality that provides wonderful opportunities for early intervention with children. Play Therapy fosters the child’s innate potential and encourages the unique development and emotional growth of the child.
In this non directive Play Therapy approach, the Play Therapist enters the world of the child, following the child’s lead, developing a safe place and a relationship of trust. Children often have difficulty trying to say in words what they feel and how experiences have affected them. Play is the natural language of children and the toys can be their words. Through the toys, art materials and other things in the playroom, children can express their thoughts and feelings, explore relationships and share about their experiences.
Play Therapy helps children work through emotional, psychosocial, developmental and behavioral difficulties and helps address family problems.
Play Therapy sessions are usually held in a therapeutic playroom that has a range of carefully selected toys and materials. Sometimes Play Therapy sessions will be offered in other settings such as in a hospital setting.
In Play Therapy, the child selects the toys to play with. The Play Therapist may join in the play on the child’s direction or invitation. Limits are set as and when needed to support the Play Therapy process. This is done in an empathic and respectful way that helps children make choices and develop self responsibility.
In working with a child in Play Therapy, parents / carers are an important part of the process. There is an assessment done by the Play Therapist / Mental Health Professional to determine that Play Therapy is recommended. During the process of the Play Therapy, there will be regular contact with the parents/carers by phone and in scheduled meetings.
Play Therapy supports the child’s innate capacity for inner growth, development and healing. It is designed to help children grow up as happy as possible.
(Pubished courtesey of Play Therapy Australia, www.playtherapyaustralia.com)