Play therapy isn't as well known or widely used in Ireland as it is in some parts of the world but it is a useful tool in helping children deal with emotional problems.
What is play therapy?
Play therapy is a form of counselling or psychotherapy that uses play to communicate with and help people, especially children, to prevent or resolve psychosocial challenges. This is thought to help them towards better emotional growth and development, and trauma resolution.
As children’s experiences and knowledge are often communicated through play, it becomes an important tool for them to know and accept themselves and others.
Why play therapy?
Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development.
According to Jean, "play provides the child with the live, dynamic, individual language indispensable for the expression of (the child’s) subjective feelings for which collective language alone is inadequate”
During play, children are helped to meet the essential need of exploring their environment. Play also contributes to strengthen the skill of creative thinking. Play likewise provides a way for children to release strong sentiments making them feel relieved.
During play, children play out undesirable life experiences by breaking them down into smaller parts, discharging emotional states or frames of mind that go with each part, integrating every experience back into the understanding they have of themselves.
Understanding what may be causing a change in behaviour in your child is extremely important in order to help your child with some resolution. Often, the child will not even know the issue which is causing their anxiety or worries. Through play it also allows a child’s subconscious thoughts to come to light and it is an essential tool in resolution.