Play Therapy


Play therapy originated in the belief that children express themselves easily through activities such as drawing and playing. The therapeutic powers of play promote positive emotional, physical, social, and intellectual development. While most often used with children, play therapy can be useful for patients of all ages.

Play creates an environment where the client feels comfortable enough to discuss the issue causing them stress or concern. It also serves as a way for patients to express themselves and communicate their feelings through the use of toys, games, sand tray, arts and crafts, drawing, and storytelling.

Greek Philosopher Plato was reported to say “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation.”

Key Things to Know About Play Therapy

  • Sigmund Freud published the first case study using play in therapy in 1909. Since then, many different types of play therapy have been developed.
  • Play therapy has been shown to be beneficial for children, teens, and adults.
  • Play therapy is often used to treat children with emotional and behavioral problems.
  • Play therapy can be with just the child or the child and parent/guardian.
  • A Play Therapist is a licensed mental health professional who has received extensive training, education, and supervision to be credentialed in play therapy.

How Play Therapy is Used With Children

Many of the evidenced based practices, such as CBT, require use of a part of the brain that is not fully developed in younger children. It is hard enough for adults to fully understand and describe their experiences, let alone children who are still trying to make sense of the world! Play therapy allows children to communicate and express themselves using toys and art when they are unable to put their thoughts and feelings into words.

Play therapists are trained to use a systematic and therapeutic approach to work with your child. There are many different models that have been shown to be effective in reducing behavioral difficulties with children. Some treatments involve working with the parents and their children to improve the quality of their relationship through play.

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