Play Therapy

Play is a child's natural medium for self expression and is essential for healthy development. Play Therapy is a method of helping children with behavioural and emotional problems to help themselves through 'playing out' their feelings and problems.

The time spent with the therapist is referred to as 'special time' and is non-judgmental and non-directive. The child is neither praised nor blamed and there is no judgment, no right or wrong. By providing a free atmosphere within safe boundaries the therapist allows the child complete freedom to express him/herself physically, verbally and with play things.

As a rough guide, play therapy is best suited to children aged between 5 and 9, although there are some cases where it is suitable for older or younger children.

Play therapy can help children who are experiencing or have experienced:

  • Anxiety, stress, or phobias
  • Emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • Adoption or fostering
  • Parental separation
  • Loss or bereavement of any kind
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Friendship or peer issues including bullying or being bullied
  • Unwillingness to play

The play therapy toolkit includes story-telling props such as puppets and masks, art materials including paint, sand and clay, and music, drama and dance. The combination used will depend on the child's own creative preferences.

Much of current PT practice is based upon the work of Virginia Axline, including Axline's Basic Principles of Non-Directive Play Therapy
For more information about play therapy please visit Play Therapy United Kingdom