About Play Therapy
“Our true nature is to play and explore, to live in the moment, to enjoy life. ” Don Miguel Ruiz
Why Play Therapy?
We know play is a universal language. You don’t need me to tell you this! You’ve seen children play; on playgrounds, in movies, at schools, and in their bedrooms. I’m sure, if you think hard enough, you can remember, maybe, even playing school, house or a board game growing up. Play is spoken by all regardless of race, socioeconomic status, culture or native language. This is an appropriate method of communication for even pre-verbal children age 12 months or younger.
Play Therapy, a modality of child therapy, is a powerful tool for addressing cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges. Play is an enjoyable, fun activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life.
Play therapy helps children to address and resolve their own problems and builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them; employing the therapeutic powers of play.
APT defines play therapy as the “systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”
Often times parents seek out therapy and therapists who use traditional approaches (talk therapy) encouraging children to “talk about their feelings”, control their behavior and understand themselves better.
Play Therapists are licensed clinical mental health professionals who have obtained additional education, training, and supervised experience in the field of play therapy and have are credentialed as a Registered Play TherapistsTM (RPT) and Registered Play Therapist SupervisorsTM (RPT-S).
Process of Play Therapy…
The process of Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) involves allowing children to do things for themselves in the play therapy room. The play therapist does not provide answers, teach or show children how to complete tasks; they are free to discover and explore themselves.
At Waves Counseling Services, LLC we use integrated play model therapeutically. What this means is CCPT (Child-Centered Play Therapy) and other play therapy models such as Experiential, Adlerian, Cognitive-Behavioral modalities, expressive arts and sand tray are used based on your child’s needs and concerns, and to assist them in their process.
Play is symbolic and allows children to process feelings through sensory-motor activities-movement, touch, smell, taste-and allows children to organize their experiences. This technique allows children to feel secure, independent, and powerful and is especially important for those who have been exposed to trauma or chaos where they may have felt helpless.
Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom and, most importantly, helps us express ourselves
Recent research shows that Play Therapy helps to regulate the fight/flight/freeze response system. Traditional talk therapy requires the rational brain (Frontal Cortex) which allows for verbalization, understanding, logic, and reasoning. Thus, Play Therapy helps children self-soothe and reorganize their central nervous system and rewire their brain.
Play Therapy has been shown to be effective in dealing with issues such as:
- foster care, adoption
- divorce, separation
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Behavior problems
- Anger Management