"Birds fly, fish swim and children play.” – Dr. Garry L. Landreth
We think of play as just for fun, and yet for a child – play is essential. Every child should be given the opportunity to play because play is a child’s language. There are no limits to communication when a child is at play– because the child isn’t limited to the words that they can speak. Instead children communicate through re-enactments with toys and through fantasy play at various ages.
When a child is playing – a child is at work; at work discovering the world and discovering themselves. Through play, children are stimulated socially, emotionally, cognitively, morally, and spiritually. Play enhances a child’s development. Play not only aids children in developing to their full potential, but is the medium through which children work through difficult experiences. It is in playing freely that a child begins to process inner experiences, makes sense of loss and works through trauma.
What is a Play Therapist?
A play therapist uses a playroom with developmentally appropriate toys and equipment. A safe and accepting atmosphere is created where a child is encouraged to explore and work. The therapist reflects the child’s efforts to grow and develop, and notes the changes that occur. Playing in the presence of a safe person is healing. The child is given the complete and exclusive attention of the therapist during the session. This leads to the child experiencing himself or herself as worthwhile and likable, which is the key ingredient to good adjustment with self and others.
How do I know if my child needs Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is not an intrusive approach, and so is not harmful. It can only benefit children because it encourages play, and children grow on many different levels when they play. Play Therapy can be used to boost growth and as a preventative measure, or it can be used when a child is exhibiting symptoms of a behavioral, social, or emotional nature.
How do I prepare my child for Play Therapy?
Children generally enjoy playing, and so coming to the playroom is a special experience for them. Let your child know that they get to play with a special person named Kathryn in a special play room. This will often suffice. Should your child want to know more, let him or her know that everyone goes through difficult times, and you’ve noticed this has been the case for your child. Explain that during such times it helps to have a special place to go just to play. Let your child know that you have no expectations from him or her about what he or she does or says during the playtime. This is his or her very own special time.
Can I learn to play in a therapeutic manner with my child?
Absolutely. Talk to me if you would like to learn the basics in setting up a special playtime with your child, and I will coach you in the philosophy of this approach. It is a little like learning a new language–once you can speak it, you have access to a new world of understanding. I believe that the quickest way to build a secure relationship with your child is through play. Since a child’s world consists of games and play and fun, you enter his or her world when you play with him or her. This is perceived as quality time by your child, when you play with him or her, particularly one-on-one. This fills a child’s love tank and builds relational bonds.
PLAY THERAPY HELPS CHILDREN TO:
Achieve developmental tasks
Sail through life transitions
Develop creativity and social skills
Increase confidence and mastery over life
Develop emotional intelligence
Process confusing experiences
PLAY THERAPY FOSTERS SOLUTIONS TO:
Bullying, biting, and temper tantrums
Depression, shyness, and anxiety
Thumb-sucking, nail-biting, and bed-wetting
Aggression, sibling rivalry, and acting out
Therapists Specialized in Play Therapy
From your smart phone, click on the photo below to learn more about therapists with specialties in play therapy.