Play Therapy is a method of therapy for children who are experiencing mild to severe social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.
This therapeutic process allows children to help themselves overcome difficulties as they play out their feelings and struggles in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space.
The Play Therapist is responsible for creating a safe and confidential space for the child to freely explore their inner thoughts and feelings. For this reason, all equipment in the playroom is specifically chosen for the benefit of the child’s therapeutic process.
Over a number of sessions, a trusting therapeutic relationship is developed between the child and Play Therapist. Through this relationship, and with the use of non-directive and directive techniques, the child is able to work through inner struggles and trauma.
As play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression, traditional talking therapies are not as effective as play can be when used in a therapeutic setting.
Play allows the child to access trauma and emotions stored in the primitive brain – the amygdala, brain stem and hippocampus.
Play increases Oxytocin levels in the brain, which increases the brain’s plasticity and allows the child to feel a deep sense of trust and well-being.
Young children struggle to express their emotions and feelings in words as the frontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for executive functioning and logical thinking, is not yet fully developed.
Play Therapy can help with bereavement and loss, separated or divorced parents, behavioural problems at home or school, social or emotional problems, bullies or bullied children, children who are withdrawn or have angry outbursts, experience bedwetting, nightmares and/or stress and anxieties.
The tools that are used in the playroom include sand play, creative visual arts, clay, puppetry, movement, music, creative visualisation and therapeutic storytelling.
Play: Play is a leisure activity that children undertake purely for enjoyment. It has no other objective other than amusement.
Play Work: This is the kind of play that children in nursery or primary school take part in. Teachers use this kind of play as part of the education process.
Therapeutic Play: Therapeutic Play is a non-directive method of therapy, utilising creative arts that can be used to help children experiencing mild to moderate difficulties. A Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills is registered with Play Therapy UK, takes part in regular clinical supervision and abides by the Ethical and Professional standards set by the Register.
Play Therapy: Play Therapy uses a wide range of creative arts techniques, both directive and non-directive, to ease mild to chronic psychological and emotional struggles that a child may be experiencing. An Accredited Play Therapist is required to attend supervision and is also mandated to adhere to Play Therapy UK’s Ethical and Professional standards.
Child Psychotherapy / psychology / psychiatry: These well-established disciplines can help children with diagnosed conditions and severe difficulties.