What is Play Therapy? Play therapy is more than just playing games with the child. It is an effective counseling intervention that meets the child at their developmental stage and allows them to communicate at their level (Snow, Hudspeth, et al, 2007). Through the play therapy experience, children with emotional or social skills deficits are able to learn adaptive behaviors. The supportive, therapeutic relationship that grows between the therapist and the child helps to provide the corrective emotional experience that is necessary for healing to occur (A4PT, 2008).
Why Play Therapy? “Children are not miniature adults” (Landreth, 2002, p.54). While adults are often able to communicate their thoughts and feelings verbally, children communicate through their play (Landreth, 2002). Children generally do not have the abstract reasoning skills to verbalize their thoughts and feelings. Children will express their conflicts, emotions, and experiences through their play (Snow, Hudspeth, Gore, & Seale, 2007).
Who can benefit from play therapy? Play therapy can be useful and beneficial for children with many types of emotional and behavioral difficulties. It has been shown to be effective with children with various mental health conditions and concerns, including, but not limited to, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.), aggression, anger management, grief and loss, parental divorce and family discord, anxiety, autism, depression, and in particular, children who have experienced traumatic events (Davenport & Bourgeois, 2008; Ray, Schottelkorb & Tsai, 2007; Crenshaw & Hardy, 2007; Gil, 2006; A4PT, 2008).
To schedule your child for play therapy services call 724-759-7500 today.
Association for Play Therapy (2008). Play therapy makes a difference. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from: http://www.a4pt.org/ps.index.cfm?ID=1653
Crenshaw, D.A. & Hardy, K.V. (2007). The crucial role of empathy in breaking the silence of traumatized children in play therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 16, 2, 160-75.
Davenport, B.R. & Bourgeois, N.M. (208). Play, aggression, the preschool child, and the family: A review of the literature to guide empirically informed play therapy with aggressive preschool children. International Journal of Play Therapy, 17, 1, 2-23.
Gil, E. (2006). Helping abused and traumatized children: Integrating directive and non-directive approaches. New York, Guilford Press.
Landreth, G.L. (2002). Play Therapy: The art of the relationship, 2nd Ed., New York, New York, Brunner-Routledge
Ray, D.C., Schottelkorb, A. & Tsai, M. (2007). Play therapy with children exhibiting signs of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. International Journal of Play Therapy, 16, 2, 95-111.
Snow, M.S., Hudspeth, E.F., Gore, B. & Seale, H.A. (2007). A comparison of behaviors and play themes over a six-week period: Two case studies in play therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 16, 2, 147-59.