Play therapy is a viable treatment modality for working with children, as it utilitizes their “words” (i.e., toys) in their “language” (i.e., play). For many children, talk therapy is not enough to access inner conflicts and help create behavioral change and relieve emotional stuckness. Play therapy uses the dynamic of play to help children develop social skills, address growth and development issues, aid in emotions management and to resolve trauma.
The Power of Play
Play therapists will offer many tools to youngsters to explore their emotions and experiences. From story telling and role play to using puppets, sand trays and art mediums, children are allowed to choose those activities that best allow them to express their internal realities. Play therapists may interpret and reflect back the material presented by a child, based on their training and data collected about the meanings behind much of play’s symbolism to children. Having a safe space to feel in control of play activities and to play at their own pace can provide young clients with a sense of empowerment and control of their own choices. Play therapy’s flexibility allows adaptation to the developmental and emotional stages of each child. Organizations like the Association for Play Therapy (APT) are helpful resources for information and referrals to play therapists in your area.