What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is a theoretically based form of counseling that is used with children to help resolve psychosocial challenges. Children benefit from play therapy, compared to traditional talk therapy, due to their limited verbal ability to express their thoughts and feelings. In play therapy, children have access to carefully selected therapeutic toys that enable the child to say with the toys what they may not be able to say with words through the use of miniature figurines, art supplies, puppets, and dolls. Play therapy allows the child to work through things they have difficulty with by providing a safe psychological distance from their problems that in turn allows them to express their thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development. It is different from just playing with a child, a play therapist has specialized training to help assess a child’s play and facilitate growth and healing through play therapy interventions. Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways to relate to others. Play is the natural language of children. Toys are thought to be a child’s words and play is their language.
Who benefits from Play Therapy ?
Anyone can benefit, however play therapy is generally used with children ages 3 to 12.
How long does Play Therapy take?
Each play therapy session varies in length but usually last about approximatley 50 minutes. Sessions are usually held weekly. Research suggests that it takes an average of 20 play therapy sessions to resolve the problems of the typical child referred for treatment. Of course, some children may improve much faster while more serious or ongoing problems may take longer to resolve (Landreth, 2002; Carmichael, 2006).