Tiffany Nerguizian, LPC
What is Play Therapy?
Play is the singular activity of childhood which occurs at all times and in all places. Children
do not need to be taught to play, nor must they be made to play. Play is spontaneous, enjoyable, voluntary and non-goal directed.It is done for its own sake.
Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. Play is a child’s language. Adolescents and adults use languages like English, Spanish, French to express themselves. However, no matter what verbal language children speak, children express themselves best through their natural language—the language of play.
Play Therapy is based on the fact that play is a child’s natural medium of communication and expression. Children “play out” their experience and feelings in a safe environment. Children can use toys to say what they can’t say with words.
Play Therapy provides a way for children to work through defenses and handle anxiety. It helps children verbalize feelings. It helps children act out unconscious material and relieves tension. Children can release feelings in a safe environment.
What is the role of the Play Therapist?
The therapist’s responsibility is to go to the child’s level and communicate with them in a way that is comfortable for the child. All of the child’s feelings and thoughts are accepted without judgment.
What is the goal of Play Therapy?
Each child is unique and will take something different from the play therapy experience. Children can learn the following things in Play Therapy: self control, responsible freedom of expression, to respect themselves, that their feelings are acceptable, to be responsible for self, to be creative in confronting problem solving, self acceptance and self direction, and to make choices and be responsible for their choices.