Play therapy is a way of doing counselling with children (approximately age three to eleven) and adolescents (age twelve to eighteen).
During therapy the therapist mostly makes use of games, toys and other mediums such as clay, drawings or paintings to help the child or adolescent to share and deal with emotions in a non-threatening environment.
Play therapy is often used as a tool for emotional assessment. A play therapist observes a child playing with toys (play-houses, pets, dolls, etc.) to determine the cause of disturbed behavior.
The objects and patterns of play, as well as the willingness to make contact with the therapist, can be used to understand the underlying rationale for behavior both inside and outside the session.
Why Play Therapy?
The purpose of therapy is for the child or adolescent to explore emotions, to make the emotions their own and to learn to handle the emotions in an appropriate manner.
For children it is very important to be able to express and understand their emotions. If not, the child or adolescent might have barriers that will affect his/her behaviour and normal emotional development.
When a child or adolescent have emotional baggage it will also have an influence on the child or adolescent's academic progress. This will result in poor performance in school, feelings of unworthiness and of failure.
How long does the therapy last?
Therapy usually takes place for approximately one hour per week until the child or adolescent learned to deal with his/her emotions.
Therapy can restart at any time if the child or adolescent have the need for more therapy.