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  • Writer's pictureKevin Kenealy

How Play Therapy Works with Kids

The Magic of Play

The act of playing is considered a remarkable and crucial part of the development of the child and a great way to enhance the problem-solving skills of a human. It is a primary right of children to have the freedom to play according to the United Nations. It is an important source of emotional, cognitive, social, and physical development of the child. Play provides a way for the child to express his cognitive and emotional difficulties efficiently. Children can learn social and emotional skills, experience their fantasies, and enjoy themselves. It also enhances the learning ability and psychological health of children. Play also has a curative effect on children.

Play Therapy

Play as therapy is a highly encouraged and established tool used in counselling. It is considered very reputable and reliable by psychologists, and therapists. A doctorate or a master's level degree and a valid license from Association for Play Therapy are required for both Professional psychologists and therapists providing play therapy. As the name suggests, it is a very effective method to provide therapy to children. Play therapy is a very constructive way of treatment for various health challenges. It is the most suitable way of treatment for children who have undergone some trauma in their life or who have learning and verbal difficulties.

Several types of tools including games, toys, trays, art, and puppets are used by professional play therapists. This whole process is strengthened by supportive parents. Play therapy is mostly used for children but it can also be used as a therapy for adults. These play therapy techniques are widely used in many hospitals, schools, and counselling clinics.

The Language of Children

Play is mostly considered as the child’s language by play therapists. Children are more expressive and tend to display their feelings in a better way when they are playing rather than in regular discussion counseling sessions. There are a lot of reasons for this like some children are not capable of communication and cannot express their feelings and difficulties in counseling sessions. Words of children are not always clearly interpreted by therapists. Children can freely describe their feelings and concerns during play. They are not under pressure to speak, and they freely describe their feelings through activities and games without any restriction. The job of the therapist now is to make out the meaning from the child’s play as the child progresses in play. They try to have an idea of the child’s way of interaction with his surroundings.

Dealing with children according to their developmental level

Play gives the therapist an idea about the developmental level of the child so that he can deal with the child accordingly. The play creates a friendly environment that gives rise to a good relationship between therapist and child which is the fundamental need of counseling sessions. This helps in building confidence in children that they are free to act as they like which enhances the feeling of safety in children. The play pulls out important feelings of children. The therapists then progress in a very smooth way to interpret these feelings. This therapeutic process promotes self-enhancement and self-understanding. It also teaches the children self-control and self-expression.

Play therapy is best therapeutic tool that is mostly used for children by therapists. Play therapy ensures normal growth and development of children. It also empowers parents, family members and the child himself.

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