The Power of Play Therapy
Play therapy is primarily practiced with children, as play is the “symbolic expression of their world” (Journal of Play). When children do not have words to articulate their feelings, play serves as the most developmentally appropriate intervention. It must be noted that children are more willing to engage in a therapeutic process when it involves play , and as a result, feel safer and less threatened within this context. In essence, play is every child’s language. Whether facilitated by parent or professional, play therapy has proven exceptionally effective and is continually supported by ample research.
From the outside, play therapy may look simply like the application of day-to-day playtime. However, this could not be further from the truth. Parents, trained educators, and therapists utilize this evidence-based, therapeutic approach to gain insights into the child’s psychological world. As articulated on Healthline, through play, children learn “new coping mechanisms” and also learn how to redirect maladaptive behaviors. This is applicable in a broad range of contexts, from a therapist’s office--to a classroom--to a living room. Since this therapeutic approach tends to be so effective, therapists often select this as their go-to treatment method when working with young clients.
Put simply, the outcomes of play therapy are limitless. While this intervention can improve impulse control and curb angry outbursts in one child, it can simultaneously reduce anxiety and increase help-seeking behaviors in another. With this playful approach, underlying issues naturally come to light--and in turn, help therapists, educators, and parents understand and relate to their child better. Play therapy ought to be celebrated widely--as this truly universal language effectively caters to all children.