Play has been used in therapy since the early 1900’s. You can learn more about the history and development of play therapy here. Or watch this video for a fun look at the play therapy process.

Here is my take on play therapy…

Life is full of challenges, no matter how old you are. Starting in our most tender and vulnerable years, each of us experiences a wide variety of successes and failures, proud moments, and deep losses. Naturally, our ability to cope with these challenges is different from one individual to another, from one family to another.

When life gets hard for adults, ‘talk therapy’ helps give us the tools we need to communicate how we feel and what we need. But children are still developing the skills they need for complex reasoning and logical decision-making. This is why most children are unable to convey their fears and worries, feelings and hopes through a ‘talk therapy’ approach.

That is where play therapy and the language of play comes in. In a play therapy setting, children are given age-appropriate therapy, centered around the natural language of play, to foster children’s ability to express what’s going on in their inner worlds. The toys, structured ‘fun’ activities, and the gentle guidance of a play therapist become the vehicles for kids to make sense of that world.

Once children are better able to identify and describe their innermost feelings, then they can begin to communicate complex emotions more effectively. It’s through this process that children and their families are able to cope, heal, move forward, and thrive.