Some people feel uncomfortable with the idea of therapy. It’s sort of odd to sit in a chair and tell all your problems to a stranger, right? Now imagine you’re just a small kid who’s parents have told you that you’re going to meet with an adult to talk to. It’s not hard to see how this could be very intimidating, stressful, and daunting for a young child. And yet we know that many little ones and their families are struggling with certain emotional issues that may require professional assistance. This is where play therapy comes in.
What Is Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a therapeutic model, where instead of expecting children to engage in traditional counseling (where they articulate their feelings through words), the adult enter the child’s world, and the two are able to communicate through play. Little kids can’t express their experiences through language, but a play therapist can help them use toys, coloring, and other means familiar to them in order to help them process their emotions. Play therapy is developmentally most appropriate for kids ages twelve and under, but is useful throughout the lifespan.
What Does Play Therapy Help Resolve?
Play therapy can be used to address many issues. These include problems with relationships (making friends, feeling left out, bullying, etc.), insecurities, parents divorcing or other family concerns, and even severe trauma such as abuse or the death of a loved one. A trained play therapist can help children express these issues and then work to process their emotional pain, all through the power of play!
How Can I Get My Child Involved in Play Therapy?
Finding a therapist can be difficult for anyone, let alone children. If you think your young child could benefit from this type of therapy, make sure you look for a licensed mental health professional who not only has gone through extensive training in child therapy and child development, but also has received credentials specifically in play therapy. The website for the Utah Association for Play Therapy is an excellent resource to help you find a play therapist in your area who can meet your child’s needs. Parents can also go to www.a4pt.org and use their search tool to find a therapist near you throughout the nation.