Depression is a common mental health issue among children, and it can be especially challenging for parents to navigate. As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your child struggling with sadness, hopelessness, and low self-esteem. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available, including play therapy, which can be particularly effective for children.
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses play to help children process and express their emotions. Unlike traditional talk therapy, which can be difficult for children to engage in, play therapy allows children to communicate their thoughts and feelings through play. This can be especially helpful for children with depression, who may have trouble verbalizing their emotions.
During play therapy sessions, children are given access to a range of toys, games, and activities. They are encouraged to play freely and express themselves in whatever way feels comfortable. Our Play therapist observes the child's play and uses it to gain insight into their emotional state. Over time, the therapist may introduce more structured activities or use specific techniques to help the child work through particular issues.
Benefits of Play Therapy for Children with Depression
There are several reasons why play therapy can be beneficial for children with depression:
Play therapy is non-threatening: Children may be resistant to traditional talk therapy because it can feel intimidating or scary. Play therapy, on the other hand, is a non-threatening way for children to engage with therapy. It feels less like "work" and more like playtime.
Play therapy encourages creativity: Children with depression may struggle with feelings of hopelessness or lack of control. Play therapy can help them tap into their creativity and feel a sense of agency in their own lives. Through play, they can experiment with different ways of being and find new solutions to their problems.
Play therapy builds trust: Because play therapy is non-threatening and child-led, it can help build trust between the child and therapist. This can be especially important for children with depression, who may struggle with trust issues or feelings of isolation.
Play therapy provides a safe space: In play therapy, children are encouraged to express themselves without fear of judgment or consequences. This can create a safe space for children to explore their emotions and work through difficult issues.
If your child is struggling with depression, play therapy may be a helpful treatment option to consider. Through play, your child can learn to express their emotions, build trust, and find new ways of coping with their feelings. If you're interested in exploring play therapy further, speak with our licensed therapist who specializes in working with children, or take our quiz!
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!
Kaduson, H. G., & Schaefer, C. E. (2006). 101 Favorite Play Therapy Techniques. Jason Aronson.
LeBlanc, M., & Ritchie, M. (2001). A Meta-analysis of Play Therapy Outcomes. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 14(2), 149–163.
Landreth, G. L. (2002). Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship. Taylor & Francis.
Ray, D. C., & Bratton, S. C. (2014). Intensive Short-term Play Therapy for Children with Mental Health Disorders: A Case Study. International Journal of Play Therapy, 23(1), 28–40.
Reddy, L. A., Files-Hall, T. M., & Schaefer, C. E. (2005). Empirically Based Play Interventions for Children. American Psychological Association.