Play therapy is based on 2 powerful healing components:
- The therapeutic relationship
Children do not always understand how they feel or have words to explain. This can mean that their feelings become difficult to control. Play is the natural language of children and in play therapy they can use it to express, process and resolve problems they find hard to express with words.
Play is essential because it enables children to:
- Develop physically, emotionally and socially
- Expand their imagination and creativity
- Increase communication skills
- Practise different roles in life
- Extend problem solving skills
- Learn from mistakes safely
- Improve confidence and concentration
The therapeutic relationship
- A relationship of trust is built up over the sessions with the therapist
- Within this relationship a child is able to “play out” feelings and problems at his or her own pace
- The therapist is able to “hold” the child’s thoughts and feelings by using a range of skills and resources in the playroom
Play therapy is so effective because of this combination of the therapeutic relationship and the play.
Play therapy encourages children to:
- explore painful or confusing experiences and emotions in a safe way.
- learn how to express feelings in constructive ways
- accept responsibility
- find ways of dealing with situations more appropriately
- find inner resources with which to face situations
- develop resilience and self- confidence
- reach their full potential
What happens in a Play Therapy session?
The child has a session of 45 minutes each week at the same time in the same room initially for 12 weeks. During this session the child is able to decide how they want to use that time. He or she can choose from the ‘Play Therapy Toolkit’ which includes art, clay, sandplay, role play, movement, storytelling, creative visualisations, puppets, dance and music. This large range of activities offers children the opportunity to find the best way in which to express themselves. They can explore their experiences and emotions in a safe and non-threatening way. The child has a rare freedom within a safe environment.
Often the hands know how to solve a riddle the mind has wrestled with in vain