What is play?
Play is a tool of childhood for learning, growth, and fun. It is the medium which children use to imitate adult roles, discover socially acceptable behaviors, experiment with language and ideas, and work through emotional and traumatic experiences. Play has been called the language of childhood. By watching children play, we learn more about their thoughts and feelings than by talking with them.
What is Play Therapy?
Play allows children a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows them to express their true thoughts and feelings in ways best suited to their developmental level.
The Association for Play Therapy defines play therapy as “The systematic use…of the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development”.
Play therapy is the outlet through which children are able to work through difficult experiences understand emotions, and learn. The therapist provides the child with the appropriate outlet and facilitates the child’s growth around and through the cause of therapy. The child wants to work through the event, but doesn’t always know how or have the opportunity to do so on his/her own. Play therapy starts where the child is developmentally and emotionally.
Concerns with which a child may be helped:
- Asperger’s Disorder
- School problems
- Behavioral problems
- Oppositional/Defiant problems
- Parent/child conflict
- Problems with friends
- Separation and divorce issues
- Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
- Attention deficit disorders
- Attachment disorders
- Self-esteem problems
- Social/emotional crises
- Adoption/foster care
- Domestic violence issues
- Self-harming behaviors
- Eating disorders