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  • Writer's pictureMisty Hinnefeld, LCSW

... toys are your child's words!

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

What is Play Therapy?

Play is a child’s communication with their outside world; the window by which play therapists can look inside a child’s mind to learn how they process thoughts and emotions. Therapeutic games and play methods are designed to encourage children to share their ideas and feelings; to nurture and grow their emotional intelligence. Further, play therapy is utilized to help children cope with difficult emotions and find solutions to their problems.

Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems. Therapeutic play expands children’s self-expression, self-actualization, and self-efficacy. By relieving feelings of stress and boredom, play therapy stimulates creative thinking and exploration, problem solving and conflict resolution skills, regulates their emotions, and therefore, boosts their confidence and self-esteem[1].

It is the method in which children learn how to effectively process those thoughts and emotions; providing them with vital skills on how to communicate with their parents, family, friends, and to grow into mentally healthy adults.

5 things to remember[2]:

1. Play is the natural language for children through which they explore,

express and experience. We are trained in knowing how to meet them

there and speak their language so we can understand what is happening

for them that they may otherwise not be able to express verbally.

2. Children act out what is bothering them metaphorically in their play. We

know how to see these metaphors and we know how to facilitate

experiences in the play room that help children naturally resolve what is

bothering them.

3. Play therapy has been shown by research to be the most effective way to

connect with children therapeutically and provide them a means to heal

and grow.

4. Play is a natural stress reliever. When children get to play, they are able to

release stress and this helps them regulate their emotions.

5. Play is a way for children to bond and connect with others.

Play is the way children explore, experience, and express...naturally!

[1] [2]

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