What is 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 happens’ during adulthood, most of us have the tools we need to communicate how we feel and what we need. But children are still learning those skills. They may not yet be able to convey their fears and worries, feelings and hopes. And they often don’t understand all that they are seeing, hearing, and experiencing around them.

That’s where play therapy and the language of play come in. In a play therapy setting, children are given tools to help them express what’s going on in their inner worlds. The toys, activities, and structured, gentle guidance of a play therapist become the vehicles for kids to explore and make sense of that world.

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

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