Play Therapy

Typically used as a therapeutic treatment for children, play therapy is a method of meeting and responding to the mental health needs of young people in a language they understand – namely, play. Play therapy is seen an effective and suitable intervention in dealing with children’s brain development. It is considered to be one of the most beneficial ways to help children who are experiencing emotional or behavioral challenges. A therapist specializing in play therapy will create a safe and comfortable space where the child can play (typically in a non-directive way) with very few limits or rules. The therapist will observe the child at play. The goal is to help children learn to better express themselves and resolve their problems. Think this approach might be right for a child in your life? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s play therapy experts today.

Meet the specialists

I am a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor (RPT-S). I use play therapy and many different therapeutic interventions to meet the needs of my clients. I also specialize in working with children and adolescents with behavioral challenges, as well as, parenting support and training.

— Kadesha Adelakun, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Kennesaw, GA

I am a Registered Play Therapist which means I have additional masters level education and supervision in all things children and teens.

— Leslie Gleason, Counselor in Blue Springs, MO
 

I use play therapy, sand tray , art, and other creative modalities for children, and teens, in groups, and with trauma survivors.

— Tina Ottman-Boykin, Counselor in Plymouth, WI
 

Play is a child's natural medium for communication. I use play therapy, when appropriate, with my clients, both child centered (non-directive) for younger clients and more directive for older clients because play heals! My training in play therapy has allowed me to use play in a safe, supportive way to help young children communicate and to help teach skills in playful manner with older clients, too.

— Courtney Hart, Clinical Social Worker in Havre de Grace, MD
 

I have advanced post graduate training in the area of play therapy. Play therapy is designed to help children process their thoughts and feelings through interactive play, rather than verbally. Theories such as: object-relations, attachment, psycho dynamic, gestalt, etc. may be applicable. The play can be either directive or non-directive, or a mix of both. Play therapy can include materials such as: toys, art supplies, music, movement, and books.

— Andrea Mendez, Counselor in Gaithersburg, MD

Children learn through play. By allowing them to playout their experiences in a safe, nurturing environment, children process and heal from traumatic experiences. Sandtray therapy (which is also used with teens and adults) allows children to make sense of their world through directive and non-directive means. Using the Nurtured Heart Approach during sessions also allows dysregulated children the space and control to help monitor and manage their own behaviors. Though not a registered play therapist, I have taken courses in graduate school and have seven years of continuing education and experience working primarily with children in the school setting.

— Tricia Norby, Counselor in Madison, WI
 

Play therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach primarily used to help children ages 3 to 12 explore their lives and freely express repressed thoughts and emotions through play. Therapeutic play normally takes place in a safe, comfortable playroom, where very few rules or limits are imposed on the child, encouraging free expression and allowing the therapist to observe the child’s choices, decisions, and play style. The goal is to help children learn to express themselves in healthier ways.

— Jacqueline Santana Sparber, Psychologist in Homestead, FL

I have many years experience and many hours training working with youth, especially youth with anxiety, depression and who are on the autism spectrum.

— Mollie Wirtz, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA
 

I have utilized play therapy with majority of the children, adolescents, and teens that I engage with. For children, play is how they communicate and is l language. Children have difficulty sometimes expressing their emotions and feelings either due to where they are developmentally or they do not yet have the language to connect to a feeling. Therefore, through play therapy you can enhance the ability for children to explore and express themselves and their repressed thoughts and emotions.

— Tristin Malone, Therapist in Laurel, MD

I am currently training in Synergetic Play Therapy and have extensive training in play therapy techniques as well as sand tray techniques with children and teens. There are many different forms of play therapy and utilizing the style that is best for your child is an important part of the therapy process. Some children do well choosing their play and some do better with a more directive approach.

— Kim Martinez, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Tampa, FL
 

Completion of 2-year Post-Master's training in Play Therapy. 15 years of experience providing non-directive play therapy with children ages 3-12 yrs old.

— Robyn Holmes-Cannon, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Walnut Creek, CA

Traditional "talk therapy" just doesn't work with many kids. Why? Have you ever had an in-depth, emotionally-based verbal conversation with a child (ahem...or teen)? I know I haven't. It's not that children don't want to get these feelings out, but they aren't yet at the developmental level where they can do so through words. Think of it this way... if words are how adults communicate, then for children play is their language and Toys are their words!

— Adriana Scott-Wolf, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Rockville Centre, NY
 

Children learn through play. By allowing them to playout their experiences in a safe, nurturing environment, children process and heal from traumatic experiences. Sandtray therapy (which is also used with teens and adults) allows children to make sense of their world through directive and non-directive means. Using the Nurtured Heart Approach during sessions also allows dysregulated children the space and control to help monitor and manage their own behaviors. Though not a registered play therapist, I have taken courses in graduate school and have seven years of continuing education and experience working primarily with children in the school setting.

— Tricia Norby, Counselor in Madison, WI

Play Therapy is also offered in our dedicated Play Therapy room for children 3 & up. Play Therapy allows young children to express their feelings, thoughts, and needs through creative play with a trained therapist. I work closely with parents/caregivers to address their child's emotional, behavioral, & cognitive needs through Parent Consultations & Coaching.

— Ronda Wegman, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

Play therapy is helpful, especially when working with children, to assess their strengths in learning, because children would not know how to verbally express these complexities. Play therapy is also helpful in building and maintaining the therapeutic relationship, while using specific interventions, to address issuse such as impulisivity and emotional responding.

— Tina Schneider, Psychologist in Westerville, OH
 

Play therapy has been my primary specialization throughout my work with children over 20 years. I've worked in a preschool/Child Development Center for 10 years, in elementary school and in private practice. Play is an essential part of my treatment with children for all types of issues.

— Suzy Heltzel, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Altos, CA

Play Therapy is a research-based, developmentally appropriate way for children to work through feelings and problems they are experiencing. Because children may not have the verbal language to express themselves and process their experiences, play therapy provides an opportunity for them to communicate without words.

— Jeanine Rousso, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Play therapy is a way to communicate with a child in their language. In play, kids will show me how they feel. Once I understand, I can help them communicate these feelings with you, their caregiver.

— Josanna MacCracken, Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA
 

It is my belief that Play Therapy is the best treatment to use with a child. Through use of various therapeutic toys, games, and other tools (kid yoga!), I can enthusiastically and creatively help a kiddo learn healthy coping, emotion expression, self-mastery, and increased self esteem.

— Brittney George, Licensed Professional Counselor in Lynchburg, VA