Play Therapy provides a confidential, safe place to use play to help children work through things that are bothering them, and to make sense of their life experiences. It aims to empower children by helping them to acknowledge their feelings constructively and give them strategies for coping with the difficulties they face.
Most of the time when adults face a difficulty, they use spoken language to help them make sense of their situation. This approach does not work so well with children. They prefer to use the language of play – and research shows this approach is more effective for children.
Play Therapy is suitable for children aged between 3 years to 12 years old.
Children have weekly 40 minutes sessions, at a consistent time.
Children need a minimum of 12 sessions, some children will need considerably more.
A therapist uses a range of resources including, sand, clay, puppets, miniature figures, creative visualisations games and arts and crafts materials.
The therapist’s role is to build a trusting relationship with the child, showing them consistent warmth, empathy, and respect.
The approach can be used to support children, with anxiety, low self-esteem, bereavement, aggression and withdrawal.
Play Therapists like other counsellors should be registered with a professional body such as Play Therapy UK (PTUK) and receive monthly supervision.
If you are concerned that your child might need extra support, speak to your child’s school, as schools often have therapists working in the school that they could potentially access. Some bereavement charities can offer support to children also.