It is National Play Therapy Week February 3 through February 10!
Play therapy has been the cornerstone of my professional experience and now much of my work is mentoring, training and supervising therapists in the practice of play therapy. Although play therapy is becoming more and more widely recognized as the most effective way of helping children, I still find people asking me to explain what it is.
Play therapy helps children express what is bothering them when they do not have the words or verbal ability to adequately express thoughts and feelings.
Through play, children are able to work through what is troubling them. It is in their play that children explore and express.
“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” – Plato”
Play therapists are licensed mental health professionals who have gone on for extensive training in early childhood development and play therapy. We are trained to observe themes in the way our child clients play during sessions as well as provide an experience for our clients of being seen, heard, respected and valued.
In play therapy, we are able to help children learn healthier and more adaptive behaviors.
“Toys are the child’s words and play is the child’s language. – Garry Landreth”
The relationship that develops between the child and therapist during play therapy sessions provides a repairative emotional experience lending to healing and strengthening the child’s sense of self.
In support of a child’s growth and healing in play therapy, we work very closely with parents and often other family members in order to facilitate positive shifts in the parent–child relationships and the whole family dynamic.