What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy is to children, what counselling is to adults; play is a child's natural medium of expression. In therapeutic play, a child can bring their feelings, both conscious and unconscious, to the surface .  The play therapy room is a safe contained space where the child can express themselves fully through play without being interpreted. They can just be themselves without judgement, without interpretation, without agenda. The child is treated with respect, is accepted and permitted to do and say what is needed.

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Child-centred play therapy is based on the theory that children have the resilience and the capacity to self-direct; the play therapist needs to relate to the child in ways that will assist the child’s own self-healing, creative power.  With the right opportunity and environment people have within themselves the ability to heal and develop.

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I use an Integrative Holistic Model of Play Therapy making use of non directive and more directive methods of play thearpy. I use creative arts, clay, music, puppets, role play, therapeutic storytelling, lego and sand tray work in the play therapy room. 

What the child does in the play room is confidential unless there is a need for a disclosure. By providing a free atmosphere within safe boundaries the adult allows the child complete freedom to express him or herself physically, verbally and with play things. The only rule in the playroom is that the child 'Does not hurt themselves, me or the things around them'.

Some children may respond to short-term intervention (for example 12 sessions), however if problems are more complicated and long-term, then a longer-term intervention will be required.  

Gary Landreth lists some broad therapeutic objectives that can be met in child centred play therapy:

  • Develop a more positive self-concept

  • Assume greater self-responsibility

  • Become more self-directing

  • Become more self-accepting

  • Become more self-reliant

  • Engage in self-determined decision making

  • Experience a feeling of control

  • Become sensitive of the process of coping

  • Develop an internal source of evaluation

  • Become more trusting of him or herself. 

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