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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I am experienced and trained in offering Play Therapy from renowned PT specialists. Play Therapy provides a dynamic way to interact with children in their native language of play to increase their emotional equilibrium and restore developmental processes. I am experienced helping children recover from grief, trauma, divorce and other difficulties- and am supervised by an experienced RPT-S (Registered Play Therapy Supervisor). I welcome working with your child and family.

— Amy Burley, Licensed Professional Counselor in Plano, TX

Play is the universal language of children. I typically utilize Child-Centered Play Therapy which helps kids process a variety issues from anxiety, traumatic experiences, social difficulties, life changes & many more issues. Online child play therapy uses use expressive toys, drawing items, and age appropriate online games to help in the therapeutic process. I will build trust, and help with social and emotional regulation and improving communication skills.

— Aimee Perlmutter, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Received specialized trainings in play therapy and sand tray therapy at clinic outpatient setting for three years. Certified in DC 0-5, ICARE initial assessments, and Ages and Stages Questionnaires. Certified in Positive Parenting Program (Triple P).

— Jasmine Bell, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

I have extensive play therapy training. With over 120 hours of continuing education and over 35 hours of supervision in play therapy, I am close to attaining the Registered Play Therapist credential. I have received training in Child Centered Play Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy, Gestalt Play Therapy, and play therapy based in Attachment Theory.

— Rachel Narrow, Clinical Social Worker in Chevy Chase, MD

Its been said that “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Play therapy is a form of psychological treatment that can involve playing with toys, role-playing, creation of art and games. Therapists observe someone during play to gain insights about their behavior. The central idea to play therapy is that people use play to communicate unconscious conflicts and feelings through displacement with the therapist.

— Ana Liza Scully-Skinner, Therapist in Wichita, KS

Play is the language of childhood. Play is used by children to explore their world and find meaning and understanding of the greater, more complex things happening around them. I utilize many forms of creative play to allow the child to use their imagination to play out how they are feeling inside, and together we work to find words to describe these feelings and develop skills to help regulate their emotions thereafter.

— Cristina Shea, Psychotherapist in New York, NY

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, Clinical Social Worker in Gaithersburg, MD

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 Raleigh, NC

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 Frederick, MD

Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. Play therapy strategically helps children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings. Toys are like the child's words and play is the child's language. Through play, we can help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are emotional or social skills deficits.

— Claudia Mattox, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Magnolia, TX

I am trained in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy which is an evidenced based treatment for children 2-7 years exhibiting behavioral challenges. Phase one of PCIT focuses on increasing parent and child attachment by teaching parents a set of therapeutic play skills. Phase two focuses on teaching parents consistent and appropriate ways to manage challenging behaviors. My role in PCIT is acting as a "live coach" to increase parent's use of the PCIT skill set during sessions.

— Sabrie Hawkins, Licensed Professional Counselor in Doylestown, PA

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

Kids learn and express themselves best through play and art. As I move towards becoming a Certified Play Therapist, I am thrilled to see my clients empowered by the ability to get the big feelings out and feel stronger. Parents often tell me how appreciative they are to understand better what their child is feeling and thinking.

— Ariel Morado, Counselor in Austin, TX

Play is the universal language of children. Online child play therapy is very much like traditional in-person counseling for children. Your child will use expressive toys and drawing items to help in the therapeutic process. As your child's therapist, I may implement age appropriate online games and digital sandtray therapy as treatment interventions. Depending on your child's age or your family's needs, parent-child therapy or parent coaching may be utilized.

— Dr. Dowtin, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

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 utilize several approaches to play therapy, depending on the child. I have completed training in Theraplay and sand tray therapy.

— Imani Bowman, Counselor in Silver Spring, MD

Play therapy allows kids to receive the help they need to cope with life-altering trauma, all through the power of play. Just as adults enjoy a conversation in their native language, children can better relate to trauma therapy techniques using their first language – “Play.”

— Yanina Marti-Ramirez de Arellano, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Lancaster, PA

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

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