Michael Baker, LMFT
Counseling for Individuals, Couples, & Families
The process of therapy can be difficult for adults, so it is often just as difficult, if not more so, for children. However, this does not go unnoticed by the therapist, and instead, the therapist will use a special kind of therapy, called "Play Therapy" to work with a child.
There is a big difference between play therapy and just play. Many therapists who don't have experience working with children will often see children and just play, but it take a specialized, knowledgeable therapist to effectively use play therapy.
When working with a therapist that has experience in play therapy, you'll see a difference in the quality of work being done. I am sensitive to understanding the difference between play therapy and just play, and have training in this area.
Therapists strategically utilize play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings (Gil, 1991). In play therapy, toys are like the child's words and play is the child's language (Landreth, 2002). Through play, therapists may help children learn better behaviors when there are emotional or social problems. The positive relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions can provide a place in which the child can have an emotional experience in a safe way that is necessary for healing.
Don't let the fun and games that often occur in play therapy fool you. Through play, your child can...
~Become more responsible for behaviors and develop more successful strategies.
~Develop new and creative solutions to problems.
~Develop respect and acceptance of self and others.
~Learn to experience and express emotion.
~Learn empathy and respect for thoughts and feelings of others.
~Learn new social skills and relational skills with family. (scoure: a4pt.org)