What is play therapy?
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” -Mr. Rogers
“Toys are children’s words and play is their language.” -Garry Landreth, Founder of Child Centered Play Therapy
Events and situations that may make sense to us as adults rarely make the same sense to children. Their brains are incapable of abstract thinking until adolescence so events such as divorce, suicide, trauma, or natural disasters are often too complex to think through and comprehend. A child’s brain and body knows that something big has happened but can’t work though it the way an adult’s brain does. You may see these “symptoms” come out in ways such as bedwetting, aggression, defiance, separation anxiety, or nightmares. They may suddenly be unable to concentrate in school and are afraid of things that may not have bothered them before. Children are rarely able to say things directly such as, “I’m afraid of the dark because grandpa touched my privates,” or, “I can’t be away from mom because I’m scared she’ll die like dad did.” So how do we help our children work through big feelings and big events when they don’t know how to verbalize or make sense of it? Play therapy is the practice of utilizing toys as tools to create a safe environment where children can act out these big feelings and big events in a way that makes sense to them. A play therapist can help a child heal and empower them to take charge of their story. They’ll be developing their emotional intelligence (the awareness, expression, and control of one’s emotions), problem solving, interpersonal relationship skills, and conflict resolution skills.
Your child may benefit from play therapy if:
– They are having trouble adjusting to a new situation (i.e. a new house, starting school, step family moving in, etc.)
– Have been through a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, abuse, illness, witnessing a traumatic event, car accident, dog bite, etc.
– Changes in the family such as divorce, death, suicide, or birth of a sibling
– If they’ve been adopted
– A sudden change in behaviors or school performance
Are you struggling with managing your child? Feel like you need some new skills or different ideas? We offer therapy to help develop new parenting skills or find new solutions for your needs at home. Whether that’s dealing with a defiant teenager, managing a blended family, parenting through trauma or crisis, or learning how to help an adoptive child feel welcome, we have tools to help.
Contact us if you have any questions. Or book an appointment online by clicking on the button to the left.