To communicate with a child, nothing works better than the child’s natural way of self-expression - “playing”. A child can communicate his/her feelings and thoughts through playing in the same way an adult talks about his/her problems. Depending on the case, a therapist may guide the child through play with a certain therapeutic plan in mind. Alternatively, in non-directive play therapy, the child will direct the session. The latter helps the child with self-direction, independence, growth, and maturity. In a nutshell: with play therapy, a therapist can learn things that talk therapy may not necessarily bring to light. Play therapy is a great intervention for children, and some play therapy techniques - such as the use of a sand tray - are ageless. Each technique in play therapy serves a specific purpose. For example, the sand tray can be used for children who have experienced trauma and abuse, or for individuals who are not able to verbalize their emotions through words due to developmental challenges.
As a certified play therapist, I use child-centred and creative play-based interventions to engage the children and even adults for more effective communication, in-depth assessment, and helping individuals to express their feelings and thoughts which they may not be able to express through words. My goal is to make children as comfortable as possible in order to feel safe, less resistant, and open to sharing their concerns. Play therapy provides age-appropriate interventions in response to the developmental needs of the children, puts them at ease, and helps them improve their communication, social skills, problem-solving and behavioural challenges. Even children with special needs and learning disabilities can benefit from play therapy interventions that include but are not limited to sand tray, story-telling, puppetry, various games, doll house, role play, and many more.
Play therapy brings more fun and joy to sessions, brings family members closer, and improves strained relationships.