Play therapists use the power of play in many ways. Play is the language of children that allows them to express what is troubling them when they cannot verbalize their thoughts and feelings in words. Therapists teach children more appropriate behaviors through play when they struggle with emotional or social skill deficits. The positive relationship that develops between a therapist and a child during sessions allows a healthier emotional experience to occur and serves to release the natural healing resources that are within each child. Since play is fun, it makes it easier for children to confront what is bothering them. Play allows them a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows them to express their true thoughts and feelings in ways that encourage the mastery of the development stages of each child. Play therapy, when administered by a trained play therapist, can benefit children and their families in many different ways. Play therapy can assist children with a variety of social, emotional and behavioral problems including:
Play therapy is successful with children whose difficulties stem from life stressors such as divorce, death, relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness, physical/sexual abuse, domestic violence and natural disasters. Families play an important role in the healing process. Children and families heal quicker when they work together. Play therapists will work with the family to establish consistent communication, and/or to invite the parent(s) into the session to involve them directly with treatment. More information for parents/guardians can be found at Association for Play Therapy's Parents Corner .