The Power of Play Therapy Techniques
For parents, it’s easy to understand some of the basic benefits of spending time at the playground. Children can get exercise, conquer challenges, build relationships, and more. While these points may be pretty obvious, some hidden benefits lie just beneath the surface. In this post, we’d like to talk about the power of play therapy techniques. Play therapy is an excellent opportunity for children facing psychological challenges to better express their feelings.
Another Mode of Communication
With a small child, it can be difficult for a therapist to successfully communicate through words alone. The child may not understand the conversation at such a young age, or they may not be comfortable expressing their feelings this way. By using play therapy, it may be possible to access feelings, thoughts, and emotions that would not have been expressed otherwise.
A huge key in play therapy is the comfort of the child. It can be uncomfortable for them to simply sit in a room to talk with a therapist. However, play therapy utilizes what most children are already familiar with—toys. This makes children feel at home from the start, which is why play therapy is a fantastic way to create a stress-free experience.
Two Distinct Options
Play therapy techniques are typically placed into one of two categories:
- Directive. With directive play therapy, the therapist will outline the terms of the play session. They’ll even set the imaginary stage for the child and help them act out various scenarios.
- Nondirective. As an alternative option, nondirective play therapy is exactly as it sounds– the child is free to play with the toys and in the play area that’s provided. The therapist will watch and carefully observe behaviors, only stepping in when necessary to establish appropriate boundaries. Watching how a child plays can provide a trained therapist with a wealth of information and insight into their behavioral patterns.
Opening the Door to Further Therapy
It may not be possible to work through all of the issues a child is dealing with simply by using play therapy. However, play sessions have the potential to strengthen the bond that a child feels with his or her therapist, making it possible for more advanced therapy down the road. A child who is closed off to the idea of therapy, or who does not feel comfortable with their therapist, will never open up in a way that can lead to true behavioral breakthroughs. By using play therapy early in the process, those walls may come down and a whole world of possibilities could open up as a result. This is truly the power of play therapy techniques!
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