Play Therapy For the Win!
Play therapy and art therapy are both relatable to young children―after all, who doesn’t like to color and build things? In a world full of requirements, rules, and stress, playing provides a break from everyday expectations and tension.
“Play therapy is a technique that utilizes children’s natural language to help process trauma. This is tremendously helpful as children often do not have the verbal skills to express their thoughts and feelings,” said Amber Johnson, LCPC, RPT-S, a therapist at Heartland Play Institute.
Play therapy can be non-directive, which means a therapist tracks an activity to help children put words to the themes they communicate through play; or it can be directive, meaning the therapist has a plan in mind to help children achieve specific goals.
Play therapy can help stressed children learn to cope and better understand their condition. These are beneficial skills for chronically ill children as the hurdles of life increase with age.
In certain instances, a therapist might creatively combine medical equipment with toys to help alleviate fears associated with treatment. When children share their feelings in return, parents and caregivers can fine-tune a care plan by introducing changes that better fit the child’s expectations.
The Bottom Line
A few things to keep in mind if you’re considering play therapy for your child:
- Meet the therapist first to explain concerns and ensure he or she is a good match for your child
- Parental involvement is very important to a successful outcome
- Always respect your child’s privacy and boundaries
- Don’t expect immediate results–therapy is a gradual process
Call us at (866) 451-8804 for a list of play therapists in your area.