For children ages three to twelve, play can be a more effective means of self-expression than even words. It follows that the psychotherapeutic approach known as play therapy is one of the premier approaches for helping children process their repressed thoughts and emotions to achieve healing and growth.
Therapeutic play is appropriate for all children. For those with social and emotional challenges, play therapy teaches better communication skills and behaviors, allowing more positive interactions with others. Learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit and autism spectrum disorders also respond to play therapy. And for children who are experiencing or have experienced stress in their lives, including divorce, trauma, family crisis, illness, and changes in their environment, play therapy has been proven effective as well.
Play therapy sessions take place in a safe, comfortable environment and sometimes involve the parent or caregiver. After an intake interview, your therapist will choose from many treatment approaches to find the ones best suited to the individual child. Storytelling, play-acting, dolls, dancing, and music are a few of the many options available. Observing and interacting with your child through these creative activities allows the therapist to reach him or her on a deeper level, freeing up thoughts and feelings that the child is unable to express in other ways.
This cathartic and healing treatment is not only for children, either. Adults can also benefit from play therapy, both on their own and with the help of one of our skilled therapists.