Updated: Oct 3
Since the 1930s, play therapy has been a popular alternative therapeutic treatment for children. The consensus among child psychiatrists and psychologists is that playtime can often be used to help children learn, reduce anxiety and improve self-esteem. This is because children can express themselves without needing to talk.
This is a crucial component of play therapy because traditional therapy may frequently come off as daunting to children, teenagers, and even adults, which does not always promote an environment that is favorable for self-expression. The play serves only as a bridge to therapy. Play therapists often stress that simply having some toys in a therapy office or encouraging children to draw or play with blocks as they talk with a counsellor or psychologist is not play therapy.
Children are doing real work and learning real skills in the play therapy room.
Play Therapy begins by helping children express their feelings and assume responsibility for their behaviours. It teaches them how to develop problem-solving skills. It is important to remember that Play therapists are trained mental health practitioners specializing in helping young children.
Your child will learn many skills in the Play Room such as;
Empathy and respect for the feelings of others
to regulate their own emotions, and manage their reactions
increase problem-solving abilities
form connections with people
increase their ability to express themselves
increase their knowledge of their self
How Problem-Solving Skills develop during Play Therapy
Children and adults process trauma differently. The trauma may become "stuck" in their memories locked away from conscious awareness. Sometimes children may not be aware of these feelings but nonetheless, they exist; often, manifesting as behavioral issues.
Children also lack the ability to "talk through" their experiences as you and I would in talk therapy or counselling. Play allows children to process their emotions and feelings in a safe environment through toys and sensory experiences. In doing so, this processing creates positive changes in your child's brain that manifest physically in their behaviour.
When we talk about developing problem-solving skills in children, we want our children to instead of giving up or getting frustrated when they encounter a challenge, they manage their emotions, think creatively, and persist until they find a solution. This is why Play Therapy presents the perfect opportunity to develop this important ability. It truly allows a child to take control of their environment and develop healthy skills that will serve them well into adulthood.
Do you think your Teen or Child could benefit from therapy? Speak to a qualified Play therapist to learn how your Teen or Child could benefit from play therapy, Click here to get in touch today, or if you want to know if Play Therapy could be suitable for your Teen or Child, click here to take our quiz!