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Play therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression. It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.
Virginia M Axline, “Play Therapy”
Play has been called ‘children’s work’ and indeed if you ever watch a child at play you will see that it is a very serious business indeed! The child may be totally absorbed in the world they have created, or in the task they are trying to complete. Although to us adults it may not seem very important, to the child, at that moment, it is everything.
Taking a bit of time to research different types of play therapy and therapists who are offering support in your area will help to ensure that you choose the most suitable therapist for your child. It will also help you to choose a therapist who both you and your child feel comfortable with and who can offer your child the support he or she needs.
Professional therapists will be happy to answer any initial questions you have, as well as discussing their personal approach to play therapy, and what you hope to gain from the process. An initial discussion is the ideal opportunity to learn more about the way a therapist works and to decide if you feel comfortable with them.
Play is a natural medium of expression for a child. Through play children learn and refine a whole range of skills, including emotional skills that allow them to act out fears, fantasies and feelings.
Play is especially important during the pre-school years when a young child’s language is still developing. Play can be seen as a special language through which parents, teachers, therapists and psychologists may gain an understanding of the child’s world. Play is also a fun way to communicate and can help to promote rapport between the adult and child.
Children are often better able to communicate their thoughts and experiences through play than they would if they were communicating verbally. A play therapist looks at the themes and patterns that emerge in a child’s play, and as they analyze and interpret these they are able to gain some insight into what is happening for the child.
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