What is play therapy?
Play therapy is a form of therapy primarily geared towards children, ages 3-10. It involves free play or structured play, depending upon the needs presented by the client. The therapist will often start by allowing the child to explore the play room and see how life events and issues are expressed through play. This is called non-directive play therapy. In directive play therapy, the therapist will have a specific activity for the child to participate in, such as art, games, puppetry, dress up, acting out, etc. Often times, both types of therapy is utilized by therapists throughout the course of treatment.
Why play therapy?
We often hear parents say that they didn’t bring a kid to therapy to play. However, we must understand that child’s language is play. Play will show, without pressure, what is on the child’s mind and the experiences they have had. Play also helps initiate conversations with the child, especially when they are gaining trust with the therapist.
Games and toys are specifically chosen for the play to pull out common mental health issues. Some games are used to help express and manage emotions or build skills such as listening, concentration, focus.