"Play Therapy combines aspects of mental health therapy into a medium that is easily understood and embraced by children aged 3-12. Children are able to express so much more of their inner worlds by play than they are simply sitting still on a couch and talking to a person they hardly know or trust. By playing with your child, the therapist is able to build this trust. Play Therapy allows your child to explore, at his or her own pace, issues that are affecting their life in some way, whether conscious or unconscious. Through Play Therapy, your child will learn how to express feelings, modify behavior, develop important problem-solving skills, and better communicate and interact with others.
Play Therapy differs from normal, everyday play with peers or adults in many ways. First, consistency is incredibly important during the Play Therapy process. When a child regularly attends Play Therapy sessions, it helps to show them that adults in their life care about them and can provide consistent relief and joy.Second, a Play Therapist creates an environment where the child is in almost complete control (so long as everyone within the Play Therapy session stays safe). The child has free reign to play however they want, with whatever they want, even making messes they aren"t obligated to clean up later. Third, the child learns about self-regulation of emotions and behaviors. This is accomplished by learning about boundaries within Play Therapy, such as a consistent time at which each session ends until the following week. Finally, Play Therapy is designed to instill the child with confidence in oneself, and to empower their sense of self-motivation. Play Therapist provides a positive environment where the child is in full control of their choices and actions, and are never "wrong," "incorrect," or "bad." A child may make choices that lead to consequences (e.g. "You chose to throw the toy against the wall, therefore you have chosen to have that toy put away for the rest of the session), but never is the child made to feel guilty or inferior because of their choices."