“All my child did with their counselor was play!”
The idea that play therapy isn’t a legitimate approach to therapy is a common misconception with which counselors often contend. Play therapy is real therapy and is an evidenced based approach to working with children. This therapeutic approach is to children what counseling is to adults. This approach utilizes play, children’s natural medium of expression, to help them express their thoughts or feelings more easily through play with toys, games, books, and art rather than words.
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children (Lilly et al., 2022). As children do not have the verbal language to express themselves articulately, counselors utilize play therapy to facilitate communication on their level. Through play, counselors can help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there is a breakdown in their emotional or social skills. This approach may also be used to promote emotional wellness, personal strength, cognitive development, and provide insight about resolution of inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking in the child (Lilly et al. 2022).
Other benefits include:
Everyone may benefit from play therapy; however, it is especially appropriate for children aged 3 to 12 years old. Adolescents and young adults have also benefited from play techniques and recreational processes. The practice of this therapeutic approach requires training from a mental health professional, but psychoeducation to families can be provided to facilitate more positive interactions at home.
If you are interested in learning more about play therapy and how to implement this practice into your home, please contact Well Child at 518-480-4002.
Lilly et al. (2022). Play therapy makes a difference. Association for Play Therapy. Retrieved from [www.a4pt.org].