that I couldn’t say any other way –
things I had no words for.
– Georgia O’Keeffe
Play Therapy is an evidenced-based, structured approach that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. For children, self-expression and communication occur most naturally through play. While adults tend to process thoughts and feelings verbally in therapy, children engage in play to show us their inner worlds. Play Therapy is a model that uses the therapeutic powers of play to help clients resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development. Play therapy creates a space for children to express feelings, develop problem-solving skills, modify behavior and learn new ways of relating to others. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.
Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems (Reddy, Files-Hall& amp; Schaefer 2005). The difference between a child’s regular play and therapeutic play is that the play therapist’s interventions help the child address and resolve their own problems. It includes helping children cope with difficult emotions, change the way they think and feel about their concerns thereby allowing them to find healthier solutions to problems. Even the most troubling problems can be confronted in Play Therapy and lasting resolutions can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered and adapted into lifelong strategies.
Play Therapists receive hundreds of hours of post-graduate supervision, course work and continued training related to becoming specialists in working with children. At Soultenders, a number of our clinicians at our Child and Family Center utilize play in their work with children, and Lauren Stockly is a Registered Play Therapist. If you would like more information on Play Therapy visit www.a4pt.org.