Play Therapy is used with children since they use play as their way of expressing themselves. The clinician will play a game with the child or listen to a child's story telling using toys. The clinician will then expand on themes the child brings into the playroom and will start to identify emotions and “feeling words” so that the child can start to understand what they are experiencing. The goal of play therapy is to help the child understand what they are going through and to express themselves in a better way outside of therapy (i.e. less tantrums at home).
Q: What types of play therapy are there?
Directive play is when the clinician chooses the game or toy that will be played during the session.
Non-directive play is when the child is allowed to pick whatever activity he or she would like to play during the session. The child will then lead the play and the clinician will follow along with the client.
Both types of play can be useful when working with children. Each type of play will allow the child to express themselves and help them handle everyday situations outside of therapy.
Q: How involved are the parents or guardian?
- It is important that the parents or guardian are involved in a child’s treatment. The amount of involvement will differ between families. Some sessions, the parent might be brought in for a play therapy session along with the child. In these sessions, the clinician will teach the parent ways they can openly communicate more with the child through play. Other times, the parent or guardian will be asked to come in for a session without the child for a parent counseling session.
Q: Who can benefit from play therapy?
- Play therapy is primarily used with children, but it can be used to help a person of any age to express themselves in a different way.