Play therapy is a way of engaging children in activities such as drawing, painting, singing, dancing, clay modeling, and many other activities. When children engage in these activities they are simply put at ease, and can more easily explain what is on their minds. It opens their mind to an area that is normally not as stimulated. Children can express their emotions with play, they can explain a scenario in a drawing, and they can express their feelings through playing with toys. We can identify if they feel destructive, if they feel depressed, or if they are experiencing things in their life that they cannot simply explain.
How Does Therapeutic Play Work?
A safe, confidential, and caring environment is created, which allows the child to play with as few limits as possible. Limits are restricted to those that must be implemented for the physical and emotional safety of the child. This environment allows healing to occur on many levels following our natural inner trend toward health. Play and creativity operate on impulses in the unconscious that reveal underlying issues. No medication is used during this therapy.
Sessions typically last 45-60 minutes and center on the child playing with their family or individually. Some of the techniques, known as the “play therapy toolkit,” might include:
- Therapeutic story telling
- Art – drawing
- Music and dance
- Playing with toys
- Utilizing brain teaser puzzles
The tools that are chosen are typically chosen by the therapist working with the child. The therapist will find what they best think will help the child express their emotions. Sometimes, the child picks a special toy or a special coloring book that he or she really enjoys. This will become their “safe” zone and their means of expression.Play therapy is an effective therapy technique for children facing a myriad of circumstances and issues. Our staff at Sherman counseling is trained in this counseling technique and may use the therapy as a part of a comprehensive treatment program, depending on the specific needs and issues of the individual child.