Play Therapy: what is it and does it work?
Play Therapy is an evidence-based treatment which takes into account the developmental and emotional needs of children (Axline, 1969, Bratton, 2005). It’s effectiveness has been measured with children with a variety of concerns including developmental trauma, anxiety, depression, ADHD, behavioral challenges, child sex abuse, developmental delays and differences, and changes in the family including divorce, a recent move, birth of a sibling, or moving to a new school.
Play is the child’s natural medium for self-expression (see Garry Landreth’s work). As adults, we may see a therapist to talk through our difficulties. It’s often hard for us grownups to put our feelings into words, and it’s even harder for children!
By using the Play Therapy materials, the child experiences a sense of safety and healing, and a way to express themselves. A therapist trained in Child Development and Play therapy and is trained to communicate and connect through play. In the Play Room, children can use play to create stories to communicate what is going on in the way that is most natural to them.
In addition to traditional Play Therapy, I utilize extensive research and professional practice from an attachment-based, neurobiology-informed perspective (Perry, B. 2006; Badenoch, B. 2009). In this modality, stress-tolerance, executive function, and attachment are assessed throughout the session and caregiver-child interaction patterns are assessed as well.
If you love all the research and want more details about what happens in the playroom, send me a message and I will provide you with my comprehensive handout and resource list!