What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy has increasingly become the choice of treatment for children dealing with emotional and behavioral disorders. 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 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, as well as, learn more effective ways to communicate, broaden problem-solving skills and increase appropriate expression of emotions.

Play is an experience that allows children to express themselves freely while gaining knowledge about themselves and the world they live in. Weston and Weston state, “The instinctive method children use for solving problems and mastering conflicts is play. Play is the all-encompassing business of childhood-in it, children take charge of their world, sort out misconceptions, and re-create life experiences.” (Weston and Weston, 1993). Children use play to master and reduce the stress of real life fears, frustrations, and anxieties.

For more information about play therapy, visit APT's website