Play Therapy is our Passion!
Just like words are used by adolescents and adults to communicate, Play is the most natural way for children ages 3-10 to communicate! Toys are like words for them and PLAY is their language. Not only that – but words are not even necessary! Play therapy makes a difference. Play is an enjoyable, fun activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom and, most importantly, helps us express ourselves.
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic powers of play. Play therapy helps children to address and resolve their own problems and builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them.
APT defines play therapy as the “systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”
Can any therapist practice play therapy?
Play therapy aims to help a child’s growth and development. The practice of play therapy requires extensive, specialized education, training and experience. Our playrooms are full of toys, games, children’s books and expressive art mediums. All our therapists who practice play therapy are under specialized supervision from Rebecca Muyres, Registered Play Therapy Supervisor and are constantly receiving play therapy training to learn more creative and beneficial ways of working with children through play, expressive arts, Legos, sand, video games and other modalities.
What does Play Therapy help?
Play therapy helps children:
- Become more responsible for their behaviors and develop more successful strategies
- Develop new and creative solutions to problems
- Develop respect and acceptance of self and others
- Learn to experience and express emotion
- Cultivate empathy and respect for thoughts and feelings of others
- Learn new social skills and relational skills with family
- Develop self-efficacy and a better assuredness about their abilities
The Association of Play Therapy provides a more comprehensive list of Social, Emotional and Behavioral Problems that can be treated with play therapy.
Do therapists ever work with the Child and the Parent Together?
Yes, we offer Filial Therapy or what might also be called Child-Parent Relationship Training (CPRT). This modality can be extremely helpful for children with attachment problems, as well as parents who struggle connecting with their children, understanding them, or engage in constant power struggles with them. As described in the Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Treatment Manual by Bratton, S., Landreth, G., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S.R. (2006), Child-Parent-Relationship (C-P-R) Training “is a special 10-session parent training program to help strengthen the relationship between a parent and a child by using 30-minute playtimes once a week. Adults talk about their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Children use toys to explore their experiences and express what they think and how they feel. Therefore, parents are taught to have special structured 30-minute playtimes with their child using a kit of carefully selected toys in their own home. Parents learn how to respond empathetically to their child’s feelings, build their child’s self-esteem, help their child learn self-control and self-responsibility, and set therapeutic limits during these special playtimes.”
Can Children with autism and neurodevelopmental disorders benefit from play therapy?
Yes, some of our therapists have been trained and certified in AutPlay, a play and behavioral therapy approach for working with children and families affected by Autism, Neurodevelopmental disorders and Developmental Disabilities. Children with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, tourette syndrome and intellectual developmental disorder may all benefit from Autplay. Therapy involves structured, relational, play based interventions designed to improve skill development. We will specifically tailor interventions to help your child improve skill functioning in six target areas: emotional regulation ability, social skills development, connection, sensory processing struggles, anxiety, and behavioral challenges. Sessions involve parents, training them to use AutPlay interventions at home with their child. For more information, please check out AutPlay Therapy and an example of an AutPlay intervention – Draw My Feelings Face