Play Therapy is a theoretical model of therapy that helps children, with the aid of a trained play therapist, to prevent problems, resolve behavioral difficulties, and achieve optimal growth and development. Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy, and uses play-based materials, such as toys, crafts, and games to help children achieve optimal mental health.
Play Therapy is a great way for a therapist to observe where the child is in their development, and determine what the child communicates with their play. Most children are not able to explain their feelings through words, so how they play is their language. Play is the most natural way for children to communicate. They don’t need to struggle with words; they can show the therapist through the toys, crafts and activities. A Play Therapist gears the entire therapy experience to the developmental age of the child. The therapist uses different activities to engage and interact with children in a very skilled and therapeutic way. This helps the child to develop new solutions to problems and more adaptive responses to the world around them.
Children come to therapy for a variety of reasons, including resolving conflicts with others, trying out new solutions to problems, and receiving additional emotional support through transitions in life. Many children also come to therapy for help with understanding, regulating, and appropriately expressing their feelings. The therapist will work with the child, parents, doctors, and school to develop goals for therapy. The specific goals of therapy can range from changing a specific behavior, to developing self-esteem, developing social skills, dealing with a traumatic experience, understanding their parent’s divorce, coping with a developmental delay, improving communication skills, and more.
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