Play therapy is a form of therapy that, as the name implies, includes playing. It’s been around for a long time, even in an academic sense. This blog discusses play therapy and its interventions in detail.
Before we move onto the play therapy interventions, let’s find out what play therapy is actually.
What is Play Therapy? A Definition
Play therapy is a coping strategy that has been in psychiatry since the 1930s and may have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years before then.
Play therapy is a form of therapy where therapists allow the individual (who are often but not always children) to play during meetings, rather than just sit with customers and ask them questions about their issues.
Play therapy may be passive, such as permitting a client to play with sand to release anxiety, or a directive, such as having a client tell a tale about a family using puppets to learn more about the client’s family relationships.
Play therapy may also be tailored to the individual because very young children play in different ways than teens and adults.
The idea of play therapy is to encourage clients to relax in a more relaxed environment where they are more likely to express themselves than they would have been in a conventional therapy session.
Benefits of Play Therapy
According to the professional organization Play Therapy International, up to 71% of children submitted to play counseling may undergo positive change.
While some children can start to hesitate, trust in the therapist continues to develop.
When they become more confident and reinforce their bond, the child can become more imaginative or more verbal in their play.
- Many of the possible benefits of play therapy are as follows:
- take more responsibility for other behaviors
- Build coping mechanisms and innovative problem-solving skills
- Self-respect for yourself
- Empathy and regard for other people
- Relieving Fear
- Train to fully understand and express feelings
- Strengthening social skills
- Stronger family ties
Play therapy can also promote the use of language or develop fine and gross motor skills.
When your child is diagnosed with a mental or physical disorder, play therapy does not substitute drugs or any other required therapies.
Game therapy may be used on its own or alongside other therapies.
When Play Therapy is Used
While people of all ages can benefit from play therapy, it is usually used in children between the ages of 3 and 12.
Game therapy can be effective in a number of cases, such as:
- Faced with surgical treatments, chronic disease or palliative treatment
- Delay in development or learning disabilities
- Education Problem Behavior in School
- Aggressive or hostile behavior
- Family problems, such as divorce, breakup, or the death of a close family member
- Human or devastating events
- Domestic violence, negligence, and neglect
- Anxiety, depression, and loss
- Eating and hygiene conditions
- Attentive avoidance hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Spectrum Autism Disorder (ASD)
Play Therapy Interventions
While there are many various ways children play, so there are many various kinds of play therapy. The sessions usually last 30 minutes to an hour and take place once a week or so.
How many sessions are required depends on the child and how well they respond to this form of care. Therapy can take place individually or collectively.
Play therapy may be directed or non-directive. The therapist will take the lead in the Directive process by defining the toys or games that will be used during the session.
The therapist must direct the play with a clear goal in mind.
The non-directive approach is less formal. The child has the freedom to select toys and games as they see fit. They ‘re free to play with a few orders or distractions in their own way.
The therapist should watch closely and participate as necessary.
Sessions must take place in an atmosphere where the child feels comfortable and has few limitations.
The therapist may use the following techniques:
- Creative Visualisation
- Toy Camera
- Puppets, stuffed toys, masks,
- Dolls, figures for action
- Arts and craft
- Water and sand enter the game
- Blocks and Construction Toy
- Dance and creative movements
- Audio play
How does Play Therapy Work?
If children have adverse psychological issues, they frequently act out or indulge in inappropriate actions.
Parents may be keen to help, but they may find it hard or unlikely to provide effective assistance if the child is unable or reluctant to address the problem.
Play therapy is assumed to be one of the most useful ways to help children with emotional or behavioral challenges.
While this method may help people of all ages, it is specifically intended to treat children under 12 years of age.
Typical sessions may last 30-45 minutes and may be conducted with a single child or in teams.
During therapy, the therapist provides a relaxed, healthy atmosphere in which the child can play with as few restrictions as possible.
This therapy area is also referred to as a playroom and comes fitted with a range of specially selected toys designed to enable the child to communicate his or her emotions and develop healthy behaviors.
The child’s interaction with such toys is essentially a child’s symbolic term. It helps the therapist to learn about particular thoughts and feelings that the child will find difficult or hard to convey verbally.
Toys used in therapy may include a sandbox with accompanying mini figurines, art supplies, Legos or other building toys, dresses or other clothes, stuffed animals, dolls, mini furniture dolls, puppets, indoor exercise equipment, and other indoor games.
The therapist can also involve the use of materials and strategies such as clay, therapeutic storytelling, music, dance and motion, drama/role play, and artistic imagery.
In the first place, children are usually permitted to play as they wish. When therapy continues, the therapist may begin to incorporate new products or engage in activities relevant to the problems that the child is facing.
Play therapy can help children in a number of ways, such as encouraging imagination, promoting healing of stressful experiences, enabling the expression of feelings, encouraging the development of good decision-making skills, exploring new ways of thinking and behaving, learning problem-solving skills, developing stronger social skills and fostering the communication of personal issues.
Play therapy may be non-directive or non-directive. Non-directive play therapy is based on the idea that, if ideal medicinal criteria and freedom of play are allowed, children will be able to fix things on their own.
This strategy is perceived as non-intrusive as there is little input from the therapist as to how a child will participate in a play.
Directed play therapy requires much greater feedback from the therapist and is based on the assumption that better therapeutic outcomes can be achieved than in non-directive play therapy sessions
Recommended Amazon Tools and Books
The following are some amazon tools and books on play therapy. These books and tools would help you collect useful resources for applying play therapy interventions to your kids.
These books are easily available on the internet.
Just click the book you wish to study and you will be redirected to the page from where you can access it.
- Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children, Second Edition (Creative Arts and Play Therapy) by Cathy A. Malchiodi and Bruce D. Perry
- 2, 4, 6, 8 This Is How We Regulate: 75 Play Therapy Activities to Increase Mindfulness in Children by Tracy Turner-Bumberry
- Play Therapy: Engaging & Powerful Techniques for the Treatment of Childhood Disorders by Clair Mellenthin
- Child-Centered Play Therapy Workbook: A Self-Directed Guide for Professionals by Jodi Ann Mullen and June M. Rickli
- Play Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice (Creative Arts and Play Therapy) by David A. Crenshaw, Anne L. Stewart, et al.
What can play therapy help with?
Play therapy can relieve the symptoms of grief and failure, minimize anxiety and depression, change the actions of children, and help children handle social and academic issues.
In reinforcing family bonds, family play therapy can be extremely good.
How do I engage my child in therapy?
You can engage your child in therapy by:
- Finding a suitable time for them, and make sure they are not in distress.
- Taking seriously your child’s worries, experiences, and emotions.
- Seeking to be calm, honest, and accessible.
- Asking how serious the difficulties they are facing can be.
- Explaining that a psychiatrist has the function of offering assistance and help.
Does play therapy help anxiety?
Play therapy helps kids work through challenging emotions.
It makes them feel understood and noticed, and it sometimes reflects in better school behavior or a decrease in excessive anxiety in children like the ones I have mentioned
How much does a play therapist cost?
The expense of the play therapy sessions differ, based on the child’s age, the severity of the problem(s), the costs of the psychiatrist, the number of sessions, and the venue.
Nevertheless, an estimation of how much a therapy session could cost is described below: $150 – $200 (or more), per play therapy session of 50 minutes.
What age is appropriate for play therapy?
Play therapists use a range of sources including storytelling, puppet play, drama, music, dance, sand play, drawing, painting, and board games.
Play therapy is best suited for children between the ages of 4-12, or for families with children of that age.
What is a family play therapy?
The combination between strategies to play and family therapy sounds realistic and worthwhile.
The family play therapy area also involves children and utilizes a combination of imaginative and artistic arts to strengthen social relations, offer meaningful incentives for much-needed fun, and develop family experiences.
This page explained in delta play therapy and the interventions used in play therapy. This blog also mentioned various benefits of play therapy.
If you have any questions or queries regarding this blog, let us know through your comments. We will be glad to assist you in this regard.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
50 Play Therapy Techniques, Toys and Certification Opportunities by Joaquín Selva (2020)
Play Therapy: What Is It, How It Works, and Techniques
Play Therapy – GoodTherapy