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Resource centre - Play Therapy
What is Play Therapy?
Children are brought into Play Therapy to address and resolve their problems. Often, by the time children arrive for therapy, they have used up all of their own options for solving their problems and simply do not know what else to do. By this time, children may be acting out at home, with friends, and at school.
In play therapy, the language of play is employed to help children express what is troubling them
when they cannot say their thoughts and feelings in words. Since play is fun, it makes it easier
for children to confront what is bothering them in a non-threatening manner that is best suited to
their developmental level.
By safely confronting their problems in the protected Play Therapy environment, children find creative solutions. Play Therapy allows children to change the way they think about, feel toward, and resolve their problems. Even the most troubling problems can be confronted in Play Therapy and lasting resolutions
can be discovered, rehearsed, and adapted into the child's life.
This little girl was very anxious and fearful and represented these feelings with clay as a monster. By seeing her anxiety and fear as something concrete she was able work through it.
This boy was very shy and did not have any friends. The small mouth in his drawing is an indication of his shyness. He was unable to verbalise this, but through drawing could express it in a safe and non-threatening manner. He often did bad things to attract attention which is indicated by the horns.
Play Therapists use the curative powers inherent in play in many ways. Through play, therapists may teach children more adaptive behaviours when there are emotional or social skills deficits. The positive relationship that develops between therapists and child during play sessions may provide a corrective emotional experience or serve to release the natural healing resources that lie within the child. Play may also be used to promote cognitive development and provide insight about inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking in the child.
This is a sand tray made by a boy to represent his feelings regarding his parents’ divorce. Through the scene it became clear that he felt he was caught up in a battle and had to choose between two sides.
Collage made by 10-year old girl who was
sexually abused.
Children’s growth cannot be accelerated. The therapist recognises this and
is patient with the child’s developmental process.