What is Play Therapy?
This intervention is based on the understanding that a child’s natural means of expressing themselves is through play.
In the way that adults may talk about their feelings through talking therapy, children can ‘play’ out their feelings, anxieties and worries through creative tools of toys, art, drama, movement and music. Play helps to bridge the gap between abstract feelings and unconscious thoughts to concrete experiences.
Non-directive play therapy is based on the Person Centred Approach of Carl Rogers, developed by Virginia Axline, where the therapy is led by the child, and the therapist facilitates their self-expression. The child, and their needs are always at the forefront of the therapy process. Integral to the therapy is the relationship between the child and the therapist which allows the play to be meaningful and therapeutic. Within this safe world of play, a child can begin to explore and process difficult feelings and material.
This child centred approach to therapy allows for a permissive, trusting, empathetic and accepting environment where the child can take responsibility, evolve and fully realise their true selves. It trusts that children have a innate drive for self realisation, growth and change. Play therapy facilitates therapeutic change resulting in enhanced daily experiences and relationships with significant others, such as parents, carers, siblings or teachers.
Play therapy allows for a release of feelings and can support a child with communication and expression.