What is play therapy?
Play therapy is a specific counselling technique whereby the child’s natural means of expression, namely play, is used as a therapeutic method to assist him/her in coping with emotional stress or trauma. It is typically effective for children aged 4 and above who have an understanding level of a normal three to eight year old. These children may be struggling with concerns such as separation anxiety, bullying, low self confidence, enuresis, parents divorcing, abuse or trauma.
Practitioners of play therapy believe that play therapy allows the child to indirectly explore and overcome fears in their world on a smaller scale, something that cannot be done in the child’s everyday environment. In play therapy, children play with specially selected materials, such as therapeutic board games, toys, and mediums such as clay, sand, drawings and paint. With the guidance of an actively supportive and affirming therapist, rather than having to explain verbally what is troubling them, the child plays out his/her feelings, bringing these hidden emotions, thoughts, wishes and needs to the surface where s/he can face them and cope with them without feeling interrogated or threatened.