Play Therapy is a form of counseling or psychotherapy that uses play to communicate with and help children, to prevent or resolve psychosocial challenges.
What is the goal of Play Therapy?Play Therapy is to help children towards better social integration, growth and development.
On which age group is play therapy employed?Play therapy is generally employed with children aged 3 through 11 and provides a way for them to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided, self-healing process.
As children’s experiences and knowledge are often communicated through play, it becomes an important vehicle for them to know and accept themselves and others.
Can Play Therapy be used as a diagnosis tool?Play Therapy can also be used as a tool of diagnosis. A play therapist observes a client playing with toys (play-houses, pets, dolls, etc.) to determine the cause of the disturbed behavior. The objects and patterns of play, as well as the willingness to interact with the therapist, can be used to understand the underlying rationale for behavior both inside and outside the session.
What approach is used by Play Therapist to work with children?According to the psychodynamic view, children will engage in play behavior in order to work through their interior obfuscations and anxieties. In this way, play therapy can be used as a self-help mechanism, as long as children are allowed time for "free play" or "unstructured play." Normal play is an essential component of healthy child development.
One approach to treatment is for play therapists use a type of desensitization or relearning therapy to change disturbing behavior, either systematically or in less formal social settings. These processes are normally used with children, but are also applied with other pre-verbal, non-verbal, or verbally-impaired persons, such as slow-learners, or brain-injured or drug-affected persons.
What are the different types of Play Therapy?Play therapy can be divided into two basic types: nondirective and directive. Nondirective play therapy is a non-intrusive method in which children are encouraged to work toward their own solutions to problems through play. It is typically classified as a psychodynamic therapy.
Traditional Sand Play therapy, family therapy, and play therapy with the use of toys fall under Non directive play therapy.
In contrast, directive play therapy is a method that includes more structure and guidance by the therapist as children work through emotional and behavioral difficulties through play. It often contains a behavioral component and the process includes more prompting by the therapist. Directive play therapy is more likely to be classified as a type of cognitive behavioral therapy.
Directed Sand Tray therapy and cognitive behavioral play therapy fall under Directive Play Therapy.
Which conditions can be helped with Play Therapy?Play therapy can be used with children who are suffering from social, emotional, behavioral and learning problems, such as:
• Anger management difficulties
• Grief and loss
• Crisis or trauma, such as: abuse, domestic violence, natural disasters
• Low self-esteem
• Siblings of children with disabilities
• Other concerns, such as: Anxiety, depression, academic or social developmental problems, learning or physical disabilities