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  • Writer's pictureKyle Wester, LPC

What is Play Therapy and Can It Help My Child?

Updated: Jun 18

What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy is a type of counseling that uses play to help kids share their thoughts and feelings. Kids often have a hard time explaining with words how they feel inside. Play therapy gives them a different way to express those feelings and emotions.

In play therapy, kids can play with special toys and games in a safe, fun environment. A trained play therapist watches how the child plays and engages with the child in play to understand what's going on in their mind and heart. The toys become the child's words to communicate. The therapist uses play to help the child express this internal world, process events and feelings, learn skills, and support the needs of the child and family.

Who Needs Play Therapy?

Play therapy can help any child who is facing difficulties or struggles. It is especially great for kids dealing with:

- Bad experiences like abuse or trauma

- Feeling very sad after someone dies

- Parents divorce

- Anxiety or having a hard time controlling emotions

- Behavior problems at home or school

- Trouble making or keeping friends

- Neurodiversity (ADHD, ASD, etc.) or other special needs

- Relationship problems with parents or siblings

Why Play Therapy Works

Kids communicate best through play - their natural language. Play therapy lets them show how they feel without having to find the right words. This can feel much easier, especially for young kids or those who are nervous.

The toys and games create an imaginative world where kids can role-play and use metaphors. This makes them feel safer when opening up about hard things.

But play therapy doesn't just help kids share feelings. The act of playing is also healing!

Through play, kids can:

- Learn to control their emotions better

- Build confidence in themselves

- Practice social skills

- Work through painful memories or trauma

- Strengthen bonds with parents/siblings through family play

- Figure out ways to solve problems

- Understand themselves better

The Power of Play

Adults sometimes forget how meaningful play is for kids. But in a child's world, play is more than just fun. With the right guidance, play becomes a powerful tool to help them grow, heal, and become more resilient.

If your child seems to be struggling with any emotional or behavioral issues, play therapy may be the answer. Counselors trained in play therapy can guide your child to express themselves in a natural way. This opens the door to working through their challenges and developing important life skills.

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