It is National Play Therapy Week February 1 through February 8! Play therapy has been the cornerstone of my professional experience and I now train and supervise 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.
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.
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.
At Wonders Counseling Services, we work with children ages 2 to 11 using play therapy. For older children and even adults we often use sand tray therapy and some play techniques to transcend the limitations of language. Many practitioners in other centers find play therapy can be effective with people of all ages.