Archive for the ‘Play Therapy’ Category
Let’s first start by defining what play therapy is exactly. Play therapy is a projective technique in which your child’s conflicts are revealed through his/her play and in their interaction with his/her therapist. Many parents feel that when their child comes in and they tell them at the end of their session that they “played games” with their therapist that the session was just fun and games. Nothing could be further from the truth. Play therapy truly is the mode of therapy that is typically used for children under the age of 10-11 years old due to children that age being less verbal in therapy. As kids mature, their ability to think about how and why they think a particular way inproves and “talk therapy” becomes the mode of treatment for older children. It is important to understand that guided play in a therapy session is completely different than the play you observe your child in at home or with their friends.
Play therapists work under the basic premise that the symbols your child uses in his/her play are actually symbolic of how they interact with others, their fears, desires, and what motivates them in particular ways. In play therapy, a child expresses themselves in various ways and comes to understand why they act how they do and begin to have awareness. It is through this awareness or understanding of how they act/play that they are able to begin to learn about themselves. The therapist is a tool for the child in getting the child to become more aware of themselves and when a child feels understood he/she is more likely to trust that they are able to get control over their feelings/emotions.
When a child expresses themselves through play, a natural emotional response or catharsis occurs. This response or catharsis is what uncovers emotions. A good example of this is when the therapist has the child use role play in re-enacting a fight he/she had with their mother or father. The child usually feels relief or anger from the role play, but there is an awareness and the therapist helps them work through their feelings as well as helping them understand their part (awareness) in what occurred.