Play Therapy

Play is very important for children’s overall development. There have been numerous studies that show how important play truly is. Research shows that children who had one healthy consistent adult to play with growing up were less likely to get involved with gangs, struggle with addictions, and face mental health struggles than children who did not have a healthy adult to play with. Peer play is important, however, having an adult to play with to model behavior, hold a safe space, mirror and respond to their child’s expression, and show interest in their child and their child’s interests is so important.

Play Therapy can be both non-directive and directive. Play Therapy can be naturally playing with the client in therapy through a client-centered approach for example. Play was first used in therapy to connect with children as play is so natural, just like artmaking. To build rapport and trust with the client/child. Also, like Art Therapy, Play Therapy can have directives such as in Sand Tray, a wonderful Play Therapy tool, the therapist may prompt in play that helps develop social skills between the figurines in the Sand Tray. This is just one example.

Play is needed for a healthy brain and self to develop, and play is a natural way children express themselves. Through play, I often see children naturally able to process trauma experiences or very difficult feelings while feeling safe and witnessed by the therapist in session. The child can externalize their experiences and feelings making it much less intimidating for them to process and the therapist can mirror healthy reactions to the child and allowing for a reparative and healing experience.

Play therapy can also be used with adults as well through art, story, song, and more! I have specific training in Play Therapy and Sand Tray from my graduate studies as well as working with my past supervisors who were both Play Therapists and Art Therapists. I believe play is essential for children and is of high therapeutic value. I also believe that it can be used with adults in truly healing and has the power to access and heal parts of the self that are both related to childhood and adulthood.

Click here to learn more about Play Therapy.