Play has been used in child therapy since early 1900s to help children better express themselves. Children are provided with carefully selected toys and activities to gain a better understanding of the issues they experience and to help them resolve these problems using their own language: play.
Children under the age of 12 do not have a fully developed cognitive ability to effectively express themselves through verbal communication. Play is the natural language of children and one of the best ways to understand their feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Play also allows children to process their own experiences in a safe environment and find better ways to deal with their problems.
My Play Therapy Approach
When I work with children, I make sure that my play therapy approach meets their unique needs.
I integrate cognitive behavioral techniques into my play therapy sessions, especially for children who need to learn new coping skills, anger management techniques, and relaxation skills.
For children with trauma history, I combine play therapy with Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a therapy approach that is proven by researchers to be effective for treatment of trauma.
I also encourage children to choose their own play and activities during a part of their session, which helps them to bring up experiences that they feel the need to process.