What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy helps children understand muddled feelings and difficult events. Rather than having to explain what is troubling them, as adult therapy usually expects, children use play to communicate at their own level and at their own pace. In Play Therapy, children enter into a dynamic relationship with the therapist that enables them to express, explore and make sense of their difficult and painful experiences.
Within Play Therapy children are able to make use of an extensive range of materials from toys, paints and pastels to puppets, dressing up clothes, sensory materials and small world figures. These materials allow children to use symbols and metaphor to create a safe psychological distance from what is troubling them.
Play Therapy is currently defined by The British Association of Play Therapists as:
‘…the dynamic process between child and Play Therapist in which the child explores at his or her own pace and with his or her own agenda those issues, past and current, conscious and unconscious, that are affecting the child’s life in the present. The child’s inner resources are enabled by the therapeutic alliance to bring about growth and change. Play Therapy is child-centred, in which play is the primary medium and speech is the secondary medium.’
How does Play Therapy help?
Play Therapy can help children in many 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.
Some benefits of Play Therapy include helping children modify their behaviours, find healthier ways of communicating, clarify their self-concept, facilitate emotional literacy, increase resiliency and build healthy relationships.
What is included in a Play Therapy kit?
As a Play Therapist Jade provides an extensive range of materials to work with including:
- Small world and action figures
- Sensory materials such as water beads, slimes, putty’s and playdough
- Lego and Duplo
- Role-play and dressing up
- Doctors and hospital kit
- Art materials such as pens, pastels, stickers, crayons, pencils, and gluing
- Dolls house and figures
All children will have their own needs and interests within Play Therapy. Some may have a clear idea of what they would like to access within the Play Therapy space, others will use something different each week. Some children may prefer to talk, tell stories or sing, while others may choose to draw or write. Play Therapy allows for following the child’s preferred method of expressing themselves and Jade facilities this as wholly as possible.