A trained therapist can use playtime to observe and gain insights into a child’s problems
Play therapy is a developmentally sensitive psychotherapeutic modality in which a trained play therapist uses the therapeutic powers of play to help children prevent or resolve emotional and psychosocial difficulties and so achieve optimal growth and development.
Play Therapy is relationship based – the power of the therapy comes from the strength of the
relationship between the therapist and the child.
For many children the dramatic distance provided by play makes it easier to get closer to the problem
and resolve difficulties by exploring the issues symbolically and metaphorically.
Play is vital to every child’s development, Play encourages growth in social, emotional, cognitive,
physical, and language development.
As children often don’t have the language to talk about their problems, in Play Therapy they are freed up to communicate in the way they are most comfortable, through play.
Through Play and Play Therapy, children can act or play out traumatic or difficult life experiences to
make sense of their past and to develop coping skills.
Children can also learn to manage relationships and conflicts in more appropriate ways. Every child is unique and special but sometimes they experience problems with feelings or behaviours that cause disruption to their lives and the lives of those around them. Parents and carers often worry when a child has a problem that causes them to be sad, disruptive, rebellious, unable to cope or inattentive.
You may be concerned about a child’s development, eating or sleeping patterns and how they are getting along with family, friends and at school. Play Therapy helps children understand confused feelings and upsetting events. Rather than having to explain what is troubling them, as adult therapy usually expects, children use play to communicate at their own level and at their own pace.
Play Therapy helps children work through emotional, social and behavioural difficulties and helps address family problems. It uses the medium of play, rather than talk, to help the child learn to express themselves, explore and make sense of the world in which they live and resolve any difficult or painful experiences.
The desired outcomes of Play Therapy include a reduction in anxiety, increased confidence and
independence, improved relationships with family and friends, positive behaviour changes, improved coping skills and increased resiliency. Play Therapy can benefit children from 3 years of age upwards.
For adolescents and pre-teens Play Therapy often becomes creative counselling, where more talk
based therapy comes into the process, this is done while also utilising creative methods which allow for deeper exploration of issues and concerns.
Play Therapy can be effective for children experiencing a broad range of difficulties, including:
- Emotional difficulties such as aggression, depression, low self-esteema, anxiety and withdrawal
- Relationship problems
- Behavioural difficulties
- Loss or bereavement
- Has experienced Childhood Illness / Hospitalisation
- Abuse or neglect
- Problems with socialising
- Having poor play skills
- Have delayed development with ASD, ADHD or any Learning Difficulty
- Parental Separation
- Being bullied or has become a bully
- They are not reaching their fullest potential academically, socially, physically and/or emotionally
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