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

For children, it might seems as though talking comes much too naturally. However, finding the words they need to say isn’t as easy during this time. Our belief as play therapists is that a child’s language is play and toys are children’s words. Toys are carefully selected for play therapy for children to play with so the therapist can search for themes and engage in play with the child which is their natural form of self-expression. Play therapy is more than just playing.

— Mallory Striesfeld, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX
 

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

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 , 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

Based on a client’s age, interests and presenting challenges, work with clients can take different forms. Children demonstrating attention deficits or impulsivity may benefit from therapeutic play involving impulse control. Work with youth may involve making art as a means to explore and connect their thoughts and emotions. Primary caregivers will often be included during the first session to provide a history of client challenges. From that point the client, caregivers, and Dr. Benjamin will de

— Brian Benjamin, Clinical Psychologist in Pasadena, CA
 

I truly believe in the power of play and I use play therapy techniques to help children express and process feelings during sessions. Through the use of play, children are able to resolve psychosocial difficulties and improve their overall functioning.

— Sasha Dimitrjevitch, Licensed Professional Counselor in Miami, FL

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
 

I am a Registered Play Therapist and am constantly seeking out continuing education opportunities to learn more about how to better help the children I work with.

— Andrea Heston, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in McKinney, TX

Much of therapy, especially with younger clients, is about the process of joining: becoming part of the client's world in order to help them work through the issues that are concerning them. I believe that there is no better way to join with clients than to sit on the floor and play. The language of play helps us talk about the things that we cannot find the words to say. Using play therapy with clients allows me to assist them in voicing their deepest hurts in a more comfortable manner.

— Arin Brutlag, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Joplin, MO
 

All work and no play? Growing up is challenging at any age, stage, or developmental level. Coping with life at home, school, with parent relationships, with peers, and everything in between, we may struggle to find the words to process what we are encountering. Play therapy is to children while talk therapy is to adults. That doesn’t mean play therapy doesn’t work for adults too! We see ages 2 through 92 for play therapy!

— Tara Moser, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Cape Coral, FL

Children communicate their experiences, thoughts, and feelings through play. It is a natural medium for them and developmentally appropriate. Through play children express their wishes, wants, needs and the perceptions of themselves and the world. Play helps children explore their relationships, resolve conflicts and develop coping strategies.

— Janine Kelly, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Basking Ridge, NJ
 

Play therapy is the optimal approach for children under 13 as it uses their natural way of learning to teach new skills and choices.

— Robyn Rausch, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

I enjoy using a variety of play therapy interventions to reach children. Wondering how to reach your child? How to set limits and get strong attachment? For children ages 2-7,I utilize Parent-Child Interaction Therapy which has taken kids from pitching tantrums that last for days or running from the classroom or struggling with attention seeking behaviors (such as whining or yelling) into listening and behaving.

— Mary Willoughby Romm, Counselor
 

Children communicate through the language of play. Young children's rapidly developing minds are processing new information everyday and it can be challenging for them to make sense of it all. I provide an array of play therapy tools and materials for children to utilize and help guide them towards making sense of confusing situations. Parents are often asked to participate during this therapy in order to learn ways to promote further healing in the home environment.

— Danielle Powell, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Kingston, NY