Play Therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children.
The curative powers inherent in play are used in many ways:
- Therapists strategically utilize play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings.
- In play therapy, toys are like the child's words and play is the child's language.
- Through play, therapists may help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are emotional or social skills deficits.
- The positive relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions provides a corrective emotional experience necessary for healing.
- Play therapy may also be used to promote cognitive development and provide insight about and resolution of inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking in the child
Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems, including children whose problems are related to life stressors, such as:
- Chronic illness
- Assimilate stress experiences
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Natural disasters