Play Therapy creates a safe atmosphere based on acceptance, empathy and understanding so that children can express themselves, try new things, learn more about how the world works, learn about social rules and restrictions and work through their problems. Play Therapists are specifically trained to use a set of specialist skills in a consistent and predictable manner so a trusting and positive relationship can develop between the therapist and child.
The Play Therapist will take children into a playroom that has a wide range of carefully selected toys. The toys are chosen because they help children express a variety of feelings and problems. The therapist allows the child to select the toys and the ways that they want to play with them. The therapist pays extremely close attention to the child’s actions and feelings, sometimes engages in imaginary play with the child and set limits if the child’s behaviour gets ‘out of line’. Limits are communicated in an empathic and respectful way that helps the child make choices and develop self responsibility. With Child Centered Play Therapy, the child’s problems or issues usually come out naturally in their play and at their own pace.
Over a number of sessions, children are supported to work on their problems, explore different solutions and learn more effective coping methods that eventually transfer to their everyday environments and relationships.
Play Therapy provides the tools (toys) and the atmosphere to provide children an opportunity to open up more than usual and explore and express their feelings, thoughts, experiences and behaviours