Play is a developmentally appropriate way for children to express their thoughts and feelings. Just as adults use words to communicate, children use play as a way to give insight into what they might be experiencing. We cannot expect that children have the emotional vocabulary to tell us when something is bothering them. Instead, we might see changes in their sleep patterns, attitude or behavior.
Play is a way to meet the child where they’re at by entering into their world. Carefully selected toys, stories, art supplies, puppets, play-doh, games, legos, blocks, dolls, and sand are just some of the tools you may find in my office. As a Play Therapist, I am trained to understand and interpret a child’s primary language of play and communicate back in a way that challenges their core beliefs to bring healing. Through the natural process of play, a child can move towards self acceptance, process their thoughts and feelings, and learn healthy ways to deal with their life experiences. Connection in the counseling room is used to enhance a child’s feeling of power and builds self-confidence. All children have a voice and deserve to feel valued, special, and safe within the relationship with their play therapist.
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul. “-Friedrich Froebel
Play Therapy is most helpful for children ages 4-11 and used to support children dealing with (but not limited to) feelings of anxiety, depression, social challenges, low self-esteem, grief, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, divorce, foster care placement, bullying, life transitions, and trauma experiences. I am a Registered Play Therapist and in addition to my licensure requirements for counseling, I have taken additional coursework to meet the standards to be a play therapist. The play that occurs in my office is child-led and purposeful which allows the child to heal and grow in a therapeutic way.
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood-Mr. Rogers
Want to learn more? Check out my post on 5 Benefits to Child-led Play.
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