Play Therapy

Aspiring Hearts Counseling specializes in Play Therapy and therapists are members of the Association for Play Therapy.  The following is some information about this type of therapy.

The Language of Play

Research has shown that the language skills of children are not as advanced as their thoughts.  A child may be experiencing emotional problems but usually has difficulty putting those feelings into words to express what is going on internally.  Children express themselves through their play and communicate their feelings through their play as if play is their own language.  Play is our first language and without it, the thoughts and feelings of the child might otherwise remain hidden.  Therapist who are trained in play therapy act as interpreters of the language of play, and use play to help address the needs and emotional issues the child is experiencing.

 

What Can Play Therapy Help?

Play is essential to human growth, development, learning, and cultivating relationships.  Play Therapy can help address most issues a child may experience.  Play Therapy can address behavioral issues that exist and address symptoms of various mental health disorders.  Play Therapist can use the power of play to help the child process situations, instill coping strategies, build social skills/communication skills, learn acceptable behaviors, build self-esteem, build problem solving skills, and many other benefits. The following is a list of just some of the areas that Play Therapy can help with:

Trauma
Bullying
Anxiety or Fear
Aggression
School/Homework Problems
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Physical & Sexual Abuse
Separation from Parents
Depression/Sadness
Impulsiveness
Learning Disabilities
Low Self-Esteem
Negative Behaviors
Grief & Loss
ADHD
Social Impairment
Physical Disabilities
Defiance

And Many Many More!

 

Who Benefits From Play Therapy?

Play Therapy can benefit anyone!  Play Therapy is mainly used with children; however, Play Therapy or some Play Therapy techniques can be useful with adults, especially adults that have difficulty with verbally communicating their emotions.

 

What Happens in a Play Therapy Session?

Therapists trained in Play Therapy use a variety of things during sessions.  Some items may include: toys, games, sand box, stuffed animals, puppets, arts & crafts, books, dance, dress-up, and other play based experiences.  The sessions are meant to be fun and safe for the child, and allow for a comfortable place for the child to openly express him or herself.  Therapist will sometimes engage the parent/guardian in the experience and will help educate the parent/guardian on the language of play.

 

Play Therapy is Effective

Research has shown that Play Therapy helps children!  The therapeutic benefits of Play Therapy allow for children to heal and improve behaviors.  For more in-depth information on Play Therapy and research concerning Play Therapy, visit the Association for Play Therapy’s Website.

For a 7.5 minute video overview of Play Therapy watch the Association for Play Therapy’s Play Therapy Works!