The Association for Play Therapy defines play therapy as, “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”
This means that Registered Play Therapists have been trained to understand the language of children through play. Play Therapists help children express feelings through play and learn to cope better with their situation. A play therapist will often engage a child in specific play interventions that will encourage them to learn about a new skill or resolve a problem that they are having.
Play therapy is appropriate for kids ages 3 to 12 years old with a variety of issues including ADHD symptoms, Conduct Disorder symptoms, grief, emotional regulation issues, anger management, depression, anxiety, and social skills. Play Therapy is a great way to encourage attachment to a caregiver and it’s used to help kids work through traumatic situations and resolve symptoms from the trauma. Play therapy can be used with special populations including adopted kids, kids in foster care, children diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Is play therapy appropriate for teens? Typically, play therapy is for children 3 to 12 years old. However, play therapists are highly trained in using creative ways to engage clients including activities that are often engaging to teens including expressive art therapy, board games and sand tray therapy. These types of therapies for teens depend on both the teens interest in these things and the teens’ developmental level. If you think this sounds right for your teen, feel free to call and ask questions.