Play Therapy is a research supported and developmentally based approach to working with children from 2-12 years of age. Children’s cognitive and language development limit their capacity to fully articulate their experience with words. Play therapy supports children to find ways suited for them to express feelings, make sense of their experiences, explore relationships with others and to understand themselves and their world. Children use toys as their words and play as their language and are able to externalize particular problems or difficulties onto toys and objects. This allows the child to feel as safe as possible while they work through significant and often distressing experiences. The child therapist provides a gentle, empathic and accepting environment for the child to act out their life experiences and difficulties, whilst providing boundaries and limits when necessary.
The Play Therapist creates a supportive, non-threatening environment and accepts the child as they are. Play allows the child to act out difficult or confusing life experiences in a safe way. It enables the child to bring outside challenges into the present and to work towards an internal resolution using metaphors and symbolic means. To an outsider it might look as though the child is merely playing and directing the therapist to be or act in certain ways. In reality, social and emotional development takes place, along with processing complex and confusing experiences which leads to the creation of new neural pathways in the brain. This process allows the child to integrate different and conflicting parts of themselves and come to an internal resolution.
Acting out a story with toys
Using fantasy and dress up
Drawing or painting
Use of puppets
Verbally talking about their experience
The play room consists of carefully selected toys and materials that are available for the child to use at every appointment. The variety of toys and materials enable the child to work through different types of play including; role play, nurturing play, aggressive play, fantasy play, mastery play, post traumatic play, testing limits, creative expression and more. The different types of play reflect the child’s inner world and their needs to work through certain issues at a time where they can support themselves to do so.
If you would like to learn more about Play Therapy or would like to make an appointment please contact us