What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is the use of playtime where a therapist applies their therapeutic techniques to children. Itʼs a method that involves using toys, imaginative play or make-believe, and other activities that help children feel at ease when with the therapist. With play therapy, a therapist can observe, interact, help children understand their emotions, find ways to express themselves to adults, discover coping mechanisms, or deal with past trauma.
Creating an environment that is safe & comfortable for your child
What play therapy does is create an environment that is both safe and comfortable for a child. Then, depending on the childʼs needs and situation, the therapist will take a directive or non-directive approach. Once the child becomes comfortable in the playroom and with the therapist, they will be given specific toys or play activities. These toys or play activities will help the therapist understand what emotions the child may be feeling or what thoughts they could be having before moving forward with treatment.
The Play Therapy Process
The child is given a chance to get used to their therapist, their playroom, and to understand the play therapy process. This will be a difficult time for most children since parents wonʼt be present.
Once a child is willing to share what they are thinking and feeling, the therapist lets them communicate in the way they choose during play. The therapist will take note of the childʼs interaction with toys, the theme of play, and any change in behavior.
Negative Reaction Phase
As play therapy progresses, the child may become comfortable enough in the playroom to fall back to old patterns and behaviors. It is essential that parents provide their children with a lot of support during this phase.
By this phase, a child will be aware of their difficulties and will have a better understanding of what they can do to change them. This part of play therapy is typically longer and harder because a child will often go back and forth between advancing and regressing.
Once this phase is reached, the child should be at a point where their behavioral and emotional aspects have become consistent and balanced outside of the playroom. This will be a hard phase for children because of the attachment they have made with the therapist.
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