What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is a mode of therapy that helps children
to explore their feelings, to express themselves
and to make sense of their life experiences.
Play is children's natural medium to learn, communicate
and to explore their worlds. Recovery from difficult
life experiences can be facilitated by a Play Therapist
allowing a child freedom of expression in a safe
and trusting environment.
Conventional talking therapies may be inappropriate
for children and young people who struggle to put
their feelings into words. Play Therapy allows children
the opportunity to explore and understand these feelings.
It can enable them to shift their perspective of
abuse or difficulty so that they are less likely
to internalise blame. The resulting empowerment and
increased self esteem can be the springboard to help
the child to cope with difficulties in the real world.
Children from different cultures, genders and abilities
can all be helped by Play Therapy.
Who can benefit from Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is an effective intervention for children
with a variety of presenting problems (children
who have been abused, those who have experienced
loss, children who are ill or disabled or children
who have witnessed violence). Play Therapy can
offer children a space in which the feelings these
experiences generate can be expressed and contained.
It cannot change what has happened but it can promote
resilience within each child to enable him or her
to discover a more hopeful view of the world. Play
Therapy is appropriate for children of all ages,
but is most often used for children aged between
three and twelve years. Play Therapists generally
work with individual children but many have experience
of working with groups and with siblings.
Play Therapy offers a confidential space in which
personal issues can be safely explored. The Play
Therapist helps the child to make sense of their
life experiences and to express difficult feelings
through the metaphors of play. Play Therapy may be
a short term intervention or a process that extends
over a longer period, according to each child's needs.
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