Play Therapy

What is Play Therapy?

Generally used with children between the ages of 3 and 11, play therapy is a form of counseling used to help children express their feelings, work through problems, and learn healthier coping skills. Most young children have difficulty with traditional "talk therapy" and a therapist can observe the child at play and, at times, engage in the play activity with the young client. Using play as a medium, a child feels more relaxed and more open to exploring their issues.

What materials are used in Play Therapy?

Any number of materials may be effectively used by a counselor during a play therapy session. Many play therapy rooms will include:

  • a child-sized table and chair set for child and counselor
  • an array of art materials - paper, safety scissors, glue, crayons, markers, collage materials
  • a dollhouse with furniture and a number of dolls for reenacting scenarios
  • books geared towards children's feelings or dealing with grief, loss, fears, trauma, or other challenging topics
  • board games - basic ones as well as therapeutic ones
  • child-friendly decor and art - often including a poster featuring feelings to help children identify ones they have had
  • soft stuffed animals for comfort