Play therapy is a type of therapy that is mainly used for children. The reason is that children are not in a position to articulate issues or process their own thoughts to their guardians or other adults. While it might appear as basic playtime, there is much more to play therapy than meets the eye. A therapist with the right training can use playtime to see and gain perception of the problems of a child. In case a child has unresolved trauma, a therapist will help them explore their thoughts and deal with what is bothering them. Using play as a form of therapy, children can learn fresh coping behaviors and ways to redirect them.
Play therapy is done by different certified mental health experts, such as psychiatrists and psychologists. Other professionals who practice play therapy include social workers, occupational and behavioral therapists, and physical therapists as well. A study by the play therapy international organization shows that up to seventy-one percent of kids who go through play therapy experience change for the better as children create strong bonds and become more comfortable during play they tend to become more inventive and verbal as well.
For a child who has been diagnosed with physical or mental illness, play therapy does not replace medication or other forms of treatment needed. Play therapy can be done alongside other forms of therapy or used as they only form of treatment for mental and physical illnesses. Even though people of all ages can be subjected to play therapy, it is mostly used with children who are aged between three to twelve years. Play therapy can come in handy in different circumstances such as neglect, abuse of domestic violence. Play therapy can be used when a child is showing aggressive and angry tendencies. Children with autism, toileting, and eating disorders can benefit from play therapy.
A gap exists when it comes to communication between children and adults. In regard to the stage of growth, kids do not have similar language skills as adults. Children will feel something in certain cases, but they might not know how to express it to adults, or they might not have an adult they can trust the information with. As a result, adults may interpret wrongly or miss the nonverbal and verbal cues of the child completely. Children comprehend the world and their role in it via play. It is a space where they are free to let out their inner emotions without any judgment.
Because most children cannot express themselves to adults, the professionals join them in their world of play to understand them better. As the psychiatrist plays with the child, they tend to feel at ease and open up about their feelings. In such a case, they are not pressured to share their feelings, but rather do it willingly and in a comfortable space. They are allowed to share on their own time using their own method of conversing. Depending on the specific needs of a child and the therapist, play therapy will differ from one child to the other.