What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy at The Happy Play Den is a method of therapy for children that is child-centered and uses a variety of play and creative arts techniques.

Play Therapy aims to help children aged 3 to 12 overcome difficulties that they may be facing. These difficulties range from mild to severe and could be described as emotional, social and/or behavioural issues that are preventing the child from achieving his or her full potential.

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.

what is play therapy
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”


Why do we use play as a type of therapy?

Play is a child's first and most natural mode of expressing themselves.

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.

why do we use play as a type of therapy
“Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts and souls meet.”

Virginia Axline, Play Therapy pioneer

How can Play Therapy help?

This kind of therapy for children can help with a wide range of difficulties.


Temper tantrums

Emotional dysregulation

Violent behaviour

Anger outbursts




Often in arguments with friends

“Birds fly, fish swim and children play.”

Garry Landreth, Leader in child-centered Play Therapy

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