The Power of Play Therapy: An Overview for Parents

The Power of Play Therapy: An Overview for Parents

When you’re choosing mental health services for your child, you want to find something that’s a good fit. If you’re exploring these services, it’s beneficial to consider play therapy.

This modality is uniquely suited to meet children’s developmental needs. As a parent, it’s important to have an understanding of what play therapy involves. We’ll explore the details below. 

What is play therapy?

Play therapy, as its name might suggest, is a therapeutic modality incorporating play as part of the healing process. This form of therapy uses figurines to help children create scenes and express themselves.

By putting together scenes in a play setting, children can express emotions, explore their relationships, talk about their wishes, and create a visual representation of their experiences. 

Why play therapy is beneficial 

You’ve probably heard it before, but play is a child’s most important work! Using play as a form of therapy is beneficial for children because it requires the therapist to communicate with them in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

Young children may not be as comfortable sitting face-to-face with a therapist and discussing their feelings from an armchair. However, they are likely more than comfortable using toys to create scenes and act out their feelings. 

In play therapy, toys become the “words” that children use to express themselves. This makes the language of therapy easier for children to understand.

How play therapy works 

A play therapy room typically includes items such as sand, clay, dolls, puzzles, and figurines. Often, children are permitted to choose the materials they’d like to use. 

The play therapist enters the room with the child, encouraging them to express themselves however they’d like. While the child plays, the therapist observes and identifies behaviors that are potentially problematic. 

In the play setting, the therapist works with the child to eliminate or alter behaviors that are interfering with optimal mental health development and/or everyday functioning. 

Uses for play therapy 

There are a variety of potential uses for play therapy, and there is plenty of research supporting its effectiveness for a number of behavioral and mental health conditions.

If your child is struggling with upsetting behaviors, such as distractions, or refusal to follow rules, play therapy can be beneficial. It can also be helpful if they seem to be having a hard time processing emotions or coping with anxiety.

While play therapy is beneficial for a variety of childhood mental and behavioral health problems, research has identified several specific problems for which play therapy is especially effective:

  • Improving self-concept
  • Promoting behavioral adjustment
  • Enhancing social skills
  • Helping with emotional adjustment
  • Addressing anxiety/fears 

If your child is struggling with a problem not mentioned above, play therapy may still be of benefit to them. Talk with a play therapist to determine if this modality is suitable for your child. 

Get started today 

Bridge to Balance is happy to provide play therapy services in the New Jersey area. We provide services for individuals, and we also run a sandtray therapy group for children. 

We have office locations in Hamilton, Voorhees, and Piscataway, and we serve both children and adults. Visit our webpage today to schedule an appointment. 





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