This week, February 3-9, is National Play Therapy Week! So let's talk about play therapy and how it can help your child and your family!
What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is an evidence-based practice for working with children in mental health.
Play Therapy uses the natural language of children and the powers of play to help children process their feelings and experiences.
The Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines Play Therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained Play Therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development."
What this means is that Play Therapy is not the same as regular, everyday play. While spontaneous play is a natural and essential part of the developmental process, Play Therapy is a systematic and therapeutic approach.
Play Therapy should only be provided by mental health professionals who have met the required education, licensure, and additional specialized training and supervision specific to Play Therapy.
How do I know if my provider is a trained Play Therapist?
When looking for a therapist for your child, it’s hard to sort through all the credentials and specializations listed on bios. Some professionals write in their bios that they “do play therapy” with children. Professionals who work with children and adolescents may incorporate toys into their work, but are not trained Play Therapists, and should not represent themselves as such.
Play Therapists have specialized education and training in a variety of subjects, including: