What is Play Therapy?

“Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression. It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.”
-Virginia Axline

When is Play Therapy best used?

Play therapy can be helpful for children who…

  • are dealing with parental conflict, separation or divorce
  • have been traumatised (sexual, physical or emotional abuse)
  • have been adopted or are in foster care
  • are dealing with issues of loss, such as illness or death of a loved one
  • have been hospitalised
  • have witnessed domestic violence
  • have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • have experienced serious accidents or disasters

How can Play Therapy help my child?

Child playing with building blocks

Play is vital to every child’s social, emotional, cognitive, physical, creative and language development. It helps make learning concrete for all children and young people including those for whom verbal communication may be difficult.

Play Therapy helps children in a variety of ways. Children receive emotional support and can learn to understand more about their own feelings and thoughts. Sometimes they may re-enact or play out traumatic or difficult life experiences in order to make sense of their past and cope better with their future. Children may also learn to manage relationships and conflicts in more appropriate ways.

The outcomes of Play Therapy may be general e.g. a reduction in anxiety and raised self-esteem, or more specific such as a change in behaviour and improved relations with family and friends.