What is Play Therapy?
For children, play is recognized as one of the most natural modes of learning and interacting with others. It is through play that children often express their feelings, explore themselves and their relationships, and attempt to understand their experiences. Children may be able to transfer their anxieties, fears, and guilt through toys rather than adults.
Through play therapy, children may be able to increase their feelings of self-worth and self-acceptance with the help of a caring relationship with an adult. Children are encouraged to understand their play as a way to express, explore, and work through conflicts and issues. Play therapy also promotes the exploration of feelings and behaviors associated with past events and issues outside of the playroom.
Parents have an important role in the play therapy process and can offer a great deal of support for the child. Parents can meet with a trained professional to learn more about their child, ways to support their child, and learn how to communicate with their child through play.
There are many approaches to play therapy and each professional chooses a method that fits with his/her personal values, beliefs, and counseling orientation. Below are just a few tools that may be used to enhance a child's experience during the play therapy process:
If you are a student or professional wanting to learn more about play therapy, we invite you to learn more about workshops and conferences throughout Arizona. Also, you can learn more about becoming a trained play therapist in your state through the Association for Play Therapy.
If you are a parent, teacher, or family member of a child that may be in need of therapy, we invite you to use our therapist list to contact a therapist in your area.