Humans benefit greatly from play in general. This type of therapeutic intervention is appropriate for children ages 3 to 12.
Play therapy is a structured therapy in which the therapist helps the child learns to address and resolve their issues. The play is a strategy to support children in a way to discover a means to communicate an expression of their feelings, modify their behaviors, and problem solve. In addition, the play often becomes a metaphor for life and helps the child to learn more effective ways of relating to the world around them. Play provides a safe, emotional distance from the current problems in which the child can express their feelings and thoughts in a developmentally appropriate fashion. By confronting problems in a clinical setting, play therapy allows children to change their behavioral outcomes.
Typical play therapy sessions ensue on a weekly basis. They will range from 30 to 50 minutes dependent upon the age of the child. Research implies that it will take an average of 20 play therapy sessions to resolve the problems of the typical child referred for this specific treatment.
Play therapy helps children with the following :
- Become more responsible for their behaviors
- Develop more successful problem solving skills
- Develop new and creative ways to view problems
- Become better critical thinkers
- Develop respect and acceptance of themselves, others, and the world
- Learn to experience and express their emotions
- Learn to tolerate situations they can not change
- Cultivate empathy and respect for thoughts and feelings of themselves and others
- Develop self-efficacy and self-acceptance
- Develop feelings of mastery
- Work through feelings of guilt and shame
“Play is the most natural method of self-healing that childhood affords”