Benefits from Play Therapy
- Increased sense of safety and security
- Increased self-esteem
- Enhanced emotional expression
- Increased ability to take responsibility for one’s behavior
- Increased ability to problem-solve
Why Play Therapy
Playing is children’s natural way of communicating and expressing their feelings. In Play Therapy, the therapist utilizes what is most comfortable for children—play—to create an environment where children can freely express themselves and gain a sense of control over their world. Children have not yet developed the vocabulary and ability to fully express themselves verbally, so they are more likely to show us and act out their thoughts and concerns. Adults come to counseling and simply sit and talk, but children have their own special language of play. Acknowledging that this is how children best communicate helps them feel understood.
How Play Therapy Works
Since play is a child’s natural language, it gives the child the opportunity to express their emotions symbolically, learn coping skills, and build their self-esteem. Play therapy helps a child develop responsibility, decision-making skills, and self-control in a safe and non-threatening manner.
“Play that occurs in a safe and supportive interpersonal environment allows us to temporarily suspend life situations in a new way. Playing in the presence of another allows issues that are often out of sight, in our right hemispheres (stored as emotions, bodily feelings, patterns of action, and perceptions), to bubble to the surface where we can experience them directly enough to arrange and rearrange them playfully in different patterns.” Teresa Kestly (2014, P. xvi)