Play Therapy: What is it and How Does it Benefit Your Child?

When you think back to your happy childhood, what is it you remember? Is it the carefree times you played with friends in the park, playground or garden? Is it the fun-filled games that you created or the make-shift stories you acted out with your family? 

Play has always been associated with creativity, self-expression, social bonding and a sense of reckless abandon. When it comes down to it, play is pure and simple fun, so is it any wonder that one of the most successful and popular forms of children’s therapy is Play Therapy?

So, what is it and how does it benefit children? Read on as we explore Play Therapy. 


What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is mostly used for children, to help them to learn and communicate through the use of toys, games, art materials, sand trays, sports equipment and other items.

Play Therapy can be directive, where the therapist guides the child to teach a skill or behaviour or non-directive, which has the child take the lead while the therapist observes. 

Play Therapy is centred on the idea that most children feel comfortable expressing their natural selves through various forms of play, which means that Play Therapy can be extremely effective in bringing out hidden feelings and behaviours.

Through direct or non-direct play, children can express their thoughts, feeling and emotions, which the therapist can observe and then work through with your child. These sessions aim to support young children in processing their experiences and emotions in healthy ways. 


Play Therapy techniques can include:

  • Storytelling
  • Role-playing
  • Creative visualization
  • Toy phones
  • Puppets
  • Dolls and action figures
  • Arts and crafts
  • Construction toys
  • Water or sand play
  • Music, dance or creative movement

Who does Play Therapy benefit?

Play Therapy is primarily offered to children from 3 to 12 years old, although babies and young adults can also benefit from this type of therapy.


Play Therapy is usually recommended if your child is:

  • Diagnosed with ASD or ADHD
  • Displaying behavioural problems or aggression
  • Going through family issues
  • Processing traumatic events
  • Diagnosed with developmental delays or learning disabilities
  • Struggling with anxiety, depression or grief
  • Facing chronic illness or medical treatment

How can Play Therapy benefit your child?


Provides a safe space to share

Play Therapy provides a safe space for your child to connect and share their thoughts or feelings, without feeling the pressure to ‘talk’. By letting your child play, your child is often able to express themselves without actually realising that they are sharing their thoughts and feelings. 


Process emotions

When children play, it can help them to express their thoughts and feelings. The therapist can also help your child to learn how to express these emotions while teaching them how to not let their emotions control them.


Builds self-esteem

Play Therapy offers opportunities for your child to feel heard and in control. This can help them to feel important, as well as start to learn about who they are, which can build self-esteem

As your child comes to understand more about themselves and their place in the world, it can make them feel more confident and comfortable expressing themselves.


Express imagination and creativity

Play therapy encourages them to explore entirely different situations and different worlds to create something new and fun for them to explore. It's also going to provide them with new ways to showcase their thought process and the things that interest them.


Social skills

Through the development of social skills, your child will be able to learn more about how to make friends and what it takes to maintain those friendships as well. Play therapy can be very helpful for children with social anxiety or who appear shy.


How can we help at All About Kids?

If your child needs therapy or if you think that it might be a good way to help them learn some valuable life skills, Play Therapy is a great way for you to do just that.

To enquire about an appointment or discuss this type of therapy in more detail, please get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team today. 


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