During childhood, children express themselves much better through play than by talking. Play therapy provides children with a safe place to express themselves symbolically, to act out unconscious feelings or experiences, and to learn to accept themselves and others.
How Does Play Therapy Work?
The play environment the child creates often mimics their perceptions of reality. The role of the child therapist is to enter into the child’s world as expressed through the language of play and the toys they choose as their words. The therapist can enter this reality and offer alternatives, reparative experiences and assist in developing positive coping skills.
Through the play therapy process the therapist can be the bridge that connects parent and child. As understanding and healing proceeds, the child may be more able to use their words, and the parent with the therapist’s guidance is more able to attune to the child’s feelings that are underlying the problematic behaviors.
For older children who are experiencing their parents’ divorce often the statements they make to others may not be how they truly feel. Their loyalties are divided, they need both parents’ love and to them their world as they knew it, no longer exists.
The expressive therapies (Art therapy, play therapy, sand tray work) allows for insights that are not provided via words. The information offered by the play therapy experience allows the child’s true feelings and experiences to be seen and heard. This is especially informative for the child who resists visits with one parent. The influences that create this difficult situation are not readily available via the spoken word. For example a child may say they do not want to have contact with a parent but their art/play or sand tray work display themes of grief and sadness associated with the breakdown of the family. Understanding the child’s pain and response to the family changes will assist the child and the family in making changes that promote healing and moving forward.
At Creative Solutions Therapy, we have found play therapy to be effective in helping children heal following anxiety, loss, grief and trauma. If you are considering play therapy sessions for your child, feel free to one of our experienced therapists for a free consultation.
If you wish to learn more about play therapy, you can do so by visiting these links