“Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression. It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.” ~ Virginia Axline

Play Therapy is about helping children express and share their feelings and thoughts. When an adult visits a therapist or counsellor, they are able to communicate by talking about their feelings. Children are often not as comfortable or capable in using words this way, and will need to communicate through a medium they understand and are comfortable with.

In most cases, play therapy is done one on one with just the child and play therapist present. It is done in a safe and secure manner and environment which allows the child and therapist to bond, thus allowing the child to feel relaxed and comfortable enough to fully express themselves and explore their feelings, behaviours and thoughts.

Play therapy helps the child to learn to recognize, work through and find a solution to manage fears or emotional conflicts that are too difficult or painful to express in words. This is done with the use of play materials and imaginative scenarios, and sometimes in such a reassuring and comfortable way that the child may be unaware that they are in fact resolving conflicts through their play.

Play therapy has been proven to help:

Children who are dealing with issues of loss, such as terminal illness or the death of a loved one.

Children with a diagnosis such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Dyslexia and so on.

Children who are experiencing parental conflict including separation and divorce .

Children who are experiencing adjustment issues such as a new school, a new neighbourhood, new sibling, etc.

Children who are experiencing issues with anger, anxiety, bullying, hatred, social exclusion, self esteem , nightmares, abuse, truancy, trauma, etc.

Children who are underperforming academically, socially, culturally, physically, etc.

Children who are withdrawn, sleep walking, bed wetting, or having behavioural and communication problems.

Here’s a video from the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) explaining about Play Therapy.

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