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.

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Meet the specialists

 

PCIT incorporates principles of play therapy that are taught to parents so they can provide daily play intervention and become their child's own therapeutic specialist.

— DC Hamilton, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Claremont, CA

I am a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S) with extensive experience and training in providing play therapy and supervising play therapists. I attended the University of North Texas for graduate school where I was able to learn play therapy from the true experts. I have been providing play therapy since 2012.

— Leslie Boutte, Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, TX
 

When it comes to working with children I typically utilize Child-Centered Play Therapy. Play is a child’s natural language. Using Play Therapy provides a therapeutic approach that is child-centered & evidence based. It helps children process a variety issues from anxiety, traumatic experiences, social difficulties, life changes & many more issues. Through attuning with the child the therapist builds trust, helps with social and emotional regulation and improves communication skills.

— Jessamy Whitsitt, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

Many therapists share they use play therapy in their practice with children, but have not taken further training on its use in therapy. I am a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, which means I completed 3 years and 3000 additional hours of practice after licensure, clinical supervision, consistent continued education courses, and significant focus in at least two play therapy evidence based practices.

— Kimberly Koljat, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Cleveland, OH
 

I have worked with children ages 5 and up for over 20 years and have learned to adapt play therapy to the different developmental ages. Younger children typically act their feelings out through play. Older children usually combine play and talk therapy to express themselves. I am able to adapt the sessions to each child in order to make the session appropriate to their age and personality. Additionally, I have attended multiple play therapy trainings in order to further enhance my skills.

— Julie Klamon, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Agoura Hills, CA

I have training and experience in providing play therapy for children ages 0-12 and utilize some play therapy activities with teenagers as well. Play can even be utilized for adults!

— Lianna Purjes, Clinical Social Worker in Denver, CO
 

I use video games, board games, and pop-culture to connect and teach. I set up problem solving scenarios and use games to help promote expression.

— Megan Johnston, Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Candidate in Gainesville, FL

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
 

I am a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, trained beyond my Master's degree with an additional 2 years of supervision and 150 hours of play-therapy specific training. Play is the language of children, and play therapy is clinically evidenced to help children to express emotions and improve their mental health.

— Elizabeth Reed, Clinical Social Worker in Charlotte, NC

Play therapy is a great way to process through emotions and feelings that are hard to talk about. For this reason I have found that its effective for both children and adults! Sometimes play can help elicit feelings we didn’t even know we had associated to different events and process through how they are making us feel. It’s a great way to pin point how are emotions effect us, sometimes a drawing or a painting can show us something that you didn’t even know was affecting you! Plus its fun!

— Alisha Olson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Candidate
 

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 received training in Play Therapy and utilize this modality when working with children ages 3-12.

— Arielle Emmett, Licensed Resident in Counseling in Blacksburg, VA
 

Many therapists share they use play therapy in their practice with children, but have not taken further training on its use in therapy. I am a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, which means I completed 3 years and 3000 additional hours of practice after licensure, clinical supervision, consistent continued education courses, and significant focus in at least two play therapy evidence based practices.

— Kimberly Koljat, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Cleveland, OH

I have training in play therapy, expressive arts therapy, and sand tray therapy with children ages 4 and up.

— Stacy Marshall, Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, TX
 

I am a Registered Play Therapist. While play therapy is often used with children and adolescents, I believe that adults can benefit from a playful approach as well. Play isn't limited to toys or games. Play can involve expressive arts, imaginative exercises -play can be an attitude toward life. I hold a Child-Centered Approach (or client-centered with adults) that the child has the ability to reach his/her potential and as a therapist, I hold a safe space for the client to explore and grow.

— Christina Scott, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Portsmouth, OH

As a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor who works via telehealth, I love being able to combine my Child-Centered approach with Digital Play Therapy. Using tools like the Virtual Sandtray App, whiteboards, Minecraft, Roblox, and digital versions of traditional board games I can bring the play therapy office to my clients, allowing them the power to speak in the language of play.

— Laura Morlok, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in ,
 

Kids' brains are significantly different, and so therapy must be delivered in a developmentally appropriate way. In play therapy, kids come to accept themselves & others using imagination, trying out change in role plays, sometimes with art or metaphors for expression.

— Joy Cannon, Counselor in Austin, TX