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Play Therapy

Play Therapy is a modality designed to serve children based on their most effective form of communication – PLAY (Ray, 2011). Just as adults use words to communicate, children use play.

Play provides a developmentally responsive means for expressing thoughts and feelings, exploring relationships, making sense of experiences, disclosing wishes, and developing coping strategies (Landreth, 2002).

Play Therapy is an evidence-based approach that supports various populations and mental health concerns.

All humans play which means that any human of any age can benefit from Play Therapy. However, Play Therapy is especially appropriate for children ages 3 through 12 years old (Carmichael, 2006; Gil, 1991; Landreth, 2002; Schaefer, 1993).


"Enter into children's play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts, and souls meet."
Virginia Axline

One of the best videos to describe Play Therapy is Introducing Andrew as shown above.


The understanding of play as the natural mode of communication and self-expression for children has become the norm (Schaefer, 2008). The natural medium of communication for adults is verbalization, but for children it is play (Sweeney, 1997). Play Therapists join children in their play in order to gain a better understanding of the child’s inner and outer world. The toys become the words the child uses to express their feelings about their relationships and life experiences.  Furthermore, Play Therapy empowers children to work through and confront difficult experiences and learn more effective ways to communicate, broaden problem-solving skills and increase emotional expression and regulation. There is so much power in play! 

For more information about Play Therapy, visit the Association for Play Therapy website

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