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The benefits of play therapy for children

Play is a natural and spontaneous part of people's lives. During play children learn about their physical surroundings, their own capabilities and limitations, social rules and the difference between fantasy and reality. In play, children interact with toys and other people as they enter new experiences and rehearse new skills. In addition, play is one way children learn to communicate and can show others things that are too complicated to say.

Why play in therapy?

Therapists use play in therapy for many reasons. Play promotes healthy development. Play helps build a positive relationship between the therapist and the client. Play is fun and helps to engage the child in the therapy session. And, children can often communicate their difficulties more effectively through play than they can through language.

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all of which make use of one or more of the natural benefits of play. All Play Therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children systematically address and resolve their own problems. Since play is fun, it makes it easier for children to confront what is bothering them. Play allows them 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. Once children have expressed and addressed their problems through play, the therapist will be better able to help them find solutions to their problems in life.

How does Play Therapy work?

Children are brought into Play Therapy to safely 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.

Play Therapy allows trained play therapists to assess and understand children's play and to use it in assisting the child in coping with difficult emotions and in finding solutions to their problems. 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.

Who benefits from Play Therapy?

While play is a natural process for children, play and Play Therapy can be helpful to people of all ages with a variety of presenting concerns.

How will Play Therapy benefit my child?

Children benefit from Play Therapy in many ways. Research supports the effectiveness of Play Therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioural, and learning problems, including: post-traumatic stress, conduct disorder, aggression, anxiety/fearfulness, depression, ADHD, impulsivity, low self-esteem, reading difficulties, and social withdrawal.

Play Therapy has been used successfully with children whose problems are related to life stresses such as divorce, death, relocation, hospitalisation, chronic illness, physical/sexual abuse, domestic violence and natural disasters.

Play Therapy can help children and others to:

  • Take responsibility for their behaviour and replace inappropriate behaviour with more successful behaviour;
  • Develop new and creative solutions to their problems;
  • Develop respect and acceptance of themselves and others;
  • Learn to experience and express emotion and to be empathic with respect to the thoughts and feelings of others;
  • And, learn new social skills.

How long does Play Therapy take?

Research suggests that it takes an average of twenty Play Therapy visits to resolve the problems of the typical child coming to treatment. Of course, some children may improve much faster while more serious or ongoing problems may take longer to resolve.

How can my family be involved?

Families play an important role in children's healing processes. The interaction between children's problems and their families is always complex. Sometimes children develop problems as a way of signalling that there is something wrong in the family. Other times the entire family becomes distressed because the child's problems are so disruptive. In all cases, children and families heal faster when they work together.

The play therapist will make some decisions about how and when to involve some or all members of the family in the Play Therapy. At a minimum, the therapist will want to communicate regularly with the child's caretakers to develop a plan to resolve problems as they are identified and to monitor the progress of the treatment.

Other options might include involving:

  • The parents or caretakers directly in the treatment in what is called Filial Play Therapy and
  • The whole family in Family Play Therapy.

Whatever the involvement, family members can be an important part of the child's healing.





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Play therapy

Latest

Play therapy

by

The benefits of play therapy for children

Play is a natural and spontaneous part of people's lives. During play children learn about their physical surroundings, their own capabilities and limitations, social rules and the difference between fantasy and reality. In play, children interact with toys and other people as they enter new experiences and rehearse new skills. In addition, play is one way children learn to communicate and can show others things that are too complicated to say.

Why play in therapy?

Therapists use play in therapy for many reasons. Play promotes healthy development. Play helps build a positive relationship between the therapist and the client. Play is fun and helps to engage the child in the therapy session. And, children can often communicate their difficulties more effectively through play than they can through language.

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all of which make use of one or more of the natural benefits of play. All Play Therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children systematically address and resolve their own problems. Since play is fun, it makes it easier for children to confront what is bothering them. Play allows them 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. Once children have expressed and addressed their problems through play, the therapist will be better able to help them find solutions to their problems in life.

How does Play Therapy work?

Children are brought into Play Therapy to safely 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.

Play Therapy allows trained play therapists to assess and understand children's play and to use it in assisting the child in coping with difficult emotions and in finding solutions to their problems. 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.

Who benefits from Play Therapy?

While play is a natural process for children, play and Play Therapy can be helpful to people of all ages with a variety of presenting concerns.

How will Play Therapy benefit my child?

Children benefit from Play Therapy in many ways. Research supports the effectiveness of Play Therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioural, and learning problems, including: post-traumatic stress, conduct disorder, aggression, anxiety/fearfulness, depression, ADHD, impulsivity, low self-esteem, reading difficulties, and social withdrawal.

Play Therapy has been used successfully with children whose problems are related to life stresses such as divorce, death, relocation, hospitalisation, chronic illness, physical/sexual abuse, domestic violence and natural disasters.

Play Therapy can help children and others to:

  • Take responsibility for their behaviour and replace inappropriate behaviour with more successful behaviour;
  • Develop new and creative solutions to their problems;
  • Develop respect and acceptance of themselves and others;
  • Learn to experience and express emotion and to be empathic with respect to the thoughts and feelings of others;
  • And, learn new social skills.

How long does Play Therapy take?

Research suggests that it takes an average of twenty Play Therapy visits to resolve the problems of the typical child coming to treatment. Of course, some children may improve much faster while more serious or ongoing problems may take longer to resolve.

How can my family be involved?

Families play an important role in children's healing processes. The interaction between children's problems and their families is always complex. Sometimes children develop problems as a way of signalling that there is something wrong in the family. Other times the entire family becomes distressed because the child's problems are so disruptive. In all cases, children and families heal faster when they work together.

The play therapist will make some decisions about how and when to involve some or all members of the family in the Play Therapy. At a minimum, the therapist will want to communicate regularly with the child's caretakers to develop a plan to resolve problems as they are identified and to monitor the progress of the treatment.

Other options might include involving:

  • The parents or caretakers directly in the treatment in what is called Filial Play Therapy and
  • The whole family in Family Play Therapy.

Whatever the involvement, family members can be an important part of the child's healing.