Play Therapy


Children learn and process emotions and thoughts differently than adults. Therefore, traditional “talk therapy” is far less effective with children because their thinking processes, range of emotional expressions, and insight are not as well-developed as adults. Click on the link below to view a short video, from the Association for Play Therapy, for a graphic example of this principle entitled, “This IS NOT how Children Communicate--Introducing Andrew.”

Children naturally learn and develop by interacting and doing, rather than by talking alone. For this reason, it is important to utilize play in therapy with children. It helps relax them, and can assists them by giving them different channels to express their feelings. According to Dr. Garry Landreth, one of the founders of child-centered play therapy, “Play is a medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, and self-fulfillment.”

For better understanding as a parent bringing your child for play therapy, here is a short video for you:

To prepare your child for his/her first play therapy appointment, here is a short video to watch together:

The benefits of play therapy are:

  • Serves as powerful tool to address cognitive, behavioral, & emotional challenges
  • Helps children process their experiences and emotions
  • Helps children develop more effective strategies to manage their worlds
  • Builds trust and mastery
  • Fosters learning and acceptable behaviors
  • Regulates emotions
  • Reduces anxieties
  • Promotes creative thinking and problem-solving
  • Encourages open communication
  • Elevates spirit and self-esteem

For children, play is their language and toys are their words. Play is our first language. Just as adults use words to communicate, children use play. When playing, we express thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain hidden. Play therapy is a primary intervention or a supportive therapy for:

Behavioral issues including

    • Bullying/being a victim of bullying
    • Grief and loss
    • Divorce
    • Abandonment
    • Physical and sexual abuse
    • Crisis and trauma

Mental health disorders such as

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity (ADHD)
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger’s Syndrome)
    • Academic and social impairment
    • Physical and learning disabilities
    • Conduct disorders