What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy provides a safe, caring, and confidential environment for children to express their feelings and thoughts through a variety of developmentally appropriate, play-based techniques. This type of therapy creates an environment with as few limits as possible in order to facilitate healing and the development of better relationships. Through the use of play, the child/adolescent can begin to work through any issues that may be impacting their life at home, school, or other relationships, while improving their resilience to stress. Play therapy helps to empower, support, and promote healthy change in children/adolescents.
What Does Play Therapy Consist Of?
Play therapy utilizes a number of resources such as games, toys, drawing, colouring, painting, and clay. These resources are used as tools to enable the child/adolescent explore their feelings, thoughts, desires, and needs in a safe and engaging context. Initially, the Play Therapist will focus on developing a strong therapeutic relationship with the child/adolescent that emphasizes comfort and trust. Once this is established, specific play therapy techniques are utilized not only to evaluate how the child/adolescent perceives themselves and their environment, but also how they react to changes to relationships and the world around them. The Play Therapist then empowers the child/adolescent with skills, coping mechanisms, and the language to express themselves and their feelings. As a result, child/adolescent becomes more conscious of their thoughts and feelings, while developing the ability and confidence to express themselves without fear of judgement. Parents and/or caregivers may be included in the play therapy to strengthen relationships, improve family dynamics, and as a means to empower parents with useful strategies to continue helping their child at home.
Who is a candidate for Play Therapy?
Play Therapy can be used for children as young as four years old. There are a number of reasons you may consider play therapy for your child. For instance, they may have:
- Trouble communicating thoughts and feelings.
- An inability to regulate their emotions.
- Self-esteem or identity issues.
- Attachment issues.
- Poor social skills.
- To cope with the loss of a loved one.
- Been abused verbally, physically, mentally, or sexually.
- Been neglected.
- Experienced a drastic change in environments (Divorce, moving to a new place, changing schools, etc.).
Please note that services are not covered under OHIP, but may be covered by insurance or extended health care benefits.