"Enter into children's play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts and souls meet." Virginia Axline
What is Play Therapy?
The Association of Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development."
Why Play Therapy?
Play is a natural language for children. Research tells us that play is fundamental to children’s development and allows them to learn how to regulate their emotions, develop problem solving skills, express themselves creatively, discover more about who they are, enhance social skills, boost self-confidence, and promote self-efficacy. Through the externalizing process of play, children can freely express and explore their inner world.
Who can use it?
Play therapy is most often utilized with children 3 years old to 12 years old although it is growing with adults. Play therapy can help address an array of behavioral and emotional challenges including, but not limited to, academic and social development, anxiety, major life adjustments such as divorce, moving, grief and lost, and trauma.
What can parents expect?
During a play therapy session, a specialized therapist can utilize toys and play-based activities to effectively communicate with children and support their work towards healing, resolving conflicts/problems, and integrating their experiences and feelings. When caregivers ask their kiddo about their session, parents may hear, “I got to play and create! Can I come back tomorrow?” Meanwhile, they were able to process and work through a recent stressful situation with a friend through the process of play.
Visit www.a4pt.org for more information!
Check out this video sharing a great example of the value of play!