Play therapy uses a child’s natural ability to play to help them handle difficult situations. Since children lack the emotional maturity and communication skills necessary for more traditional forms of counseling, play therapy provides young children with an outlet for expressing fears, worries and confusion related to natural disasters, violence and other emotionally difficult situations.
Benefits of play
Play provides a wide range of benefits, in and out of therapy. When children play, they strengthen their bodies while developing motor control, problem solving abilities and social skills. Play also provides an entertaining way to explore a wider variety of responses to a real or imagined situations. Children who have been traumatized or who are experiencing social difficulties can benefit from play therapy as a means to explore and express their feelings in a non-threatening environment, directed by trained professionals.
Self expression through play therapy
Lacking the vocabulary or the emotional maturity to express themselves fully, young children can explore their feelings about difficult situations through play therapy. During play therapy, young children are free to express negative emotions in a fanciful way, without risking primary relationships or repercussions. Play therapists are trained to observe and assess children’s play and to help children develop and rehearse problem solving skills. By expressing themselves better, young children are able to:
– Avoid future conflicts
– Improve social interactions
– Report abuse effectively
– Recognize that they are not at fault
– Develop self confidence
Being able to go at their own pace under the direction of a play therapist, children can explore distressing situations in a variety of ways in a protected environment. In play therapy, children learn how to develop coping strategies and to express themselves more effectively. Play therapists help young children navigate through difficult situations, arming them with social skills, self confidence and a better understanding of the conflicts faced by the child. These tools reduce the impact of potentially lifelong struggles with self worth, abandonment and insecurity issues.
Play therapy uses a child’s natural ability to create games that express their fears, at a level they can handle, to learn about what has happened to the child and to provide them with tools they need.
Play therapists are trained to observe the way a child plays, the words they use and the situations they create to better understand what is troubling the child and how to help. Play therapy helps young children identify concerns, develop problem solving skills and to better express themselves emotionally.