Play Therapy is based on the idea that play is a child’s natural medium for self-expression and that the child has, within themselves, the ability to solve their own problems.
Therapy is an opportunity for the child to ‘play out’ their feelings or problems, just as an adult ‘talks’ about their worries or concerns.
Through play therapy, the child learns about themselves, their thoughts, feelings and ideas, as an individual. This gives them the tools to understand why they feel like they do and realise the power within themselves, to change this.
Play therapy uses an integrative, holistic approach, taking into account the whole self – the child’s mental, physical, emotional, social skills, their attachments and the different environments they are in.
Different research, theories and evidence is integrated from different areas, to create a therapeutic approach that is individual to each child’s needs.
This is reflected in the play therapy tool kit which includes puppets, sand, art materials and small world toys and can be tailored to reflect a child’s individual needs.
It also includes the therapists understanding of the child’s conscious and unconscious processes and how to respond to this in a way that promotes independence but also supports the child’s needs.
Key to this work is the relationship a play therapist will have with their client. A play therapist will build a secure, trusting and non-judgemental relationship with the child, reflecting the idea that the child has, within themselves, the ability to resolve their own problems. This is done through the child becoming self-aware and understanding they are individual.