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What is Play Therapy for Children?

Play therapy is a method used in Child Psychology that supports children to express their thoughts and feelings in a way that feels natural and safe to them. Children ­­­often have difficulties with articulating their thoughts and feelings. Play Therapy helps a Child Psychologist gain insight into a child’s relationships, thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  Play Therapy can be used to help children with a variety of challenges; including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Emotional Difficulties, Generalized Anxiety, Social Difficulties, and Selective Mutism. Play Therapy is used as a method to discover the underlying emotions, thoughts and feelings a child experiences and while creating healthy resolve to assist in a healthy growth and development. Play therapy is often used in conjunction with skill building. 

What are the Benefits of Play Therapy?

Play Therapy benefits a child as it is an outlet to express their inner world.  Kids associate play with fun and research shows that children learn 20x faster through play. Play Therapy can be used to teach children social skills, regulation, and develop successful strategies to cope with life’s challenges.  Play therapy also has secondary benefits of increasing agency, self-esteem, and acceptance in self and others.  Emotional expression often radiates from children while playing. This expression of thoughts and feelings is crucial in making a connection between a child’s behavior and insight. 

What are some Play Therapy Techniques?

Non-directive Play Therapy is a technique used where the child directs the play and the therapist operates from an observational role.  This is a great tool to determine how the child is feeling, thinking, and what real life situations a child may be re-enacting.  This Play Therapy technique can help a Child Psychologist develop strategies for the child to grow and flourish in life. 

Directive Play Therapy is a technique used where a Child Therapist is actively involved in encouraging a child to act out situations and express their emotions, thoughts, and feelings associated with areas of difficulty.  This technique is often used as a teaching tool.  Children may be taught flexibility, social skills, and problem solving through this Play Therapy technique. We support children using a blended technique though it is often beneficial to work on goals and skill building with directive play therapy. 

What ages are appropriate for Play Therapy?

Play therapy can be used for children of all ages, though is beneficial for all young children. Play is a universal language that all children understand. Play therapy also provides a communication outlet for kids that have difficulties with verbal expression. Generally, children become more self-conscious as they approach the pre-teen or teen years, at which age free expression though play often disappears. This is when children may respond better to art, games, or using interests in therapy. With older kids play therapy can be helpful to treat symptoms related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Selective Mutism, and other anxiety or regulation related problems.  


Play Therapy and Creative Sky Psychology

Play Therapy is an excellent therapeutic tool used to establish a connection with your child. Play therapy is especially helpful with children who are young or have symptoms related to Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Emotion Regulation challenges, Anxiety, or social difficulties. At Creative Sky Psychology has a dedicated child Psychologists who specializes in Play Therapy, as well as a dedicated space with play materials to ensure children are comfortable and engaged. If you are wondering if Play Therapy is a good fit for your child, please contact Creative Sky Psychology for additional information. 

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