Benefits of Play Therapy for Children and Adolescents

Benefits of Play Therapy for Children and Adolescents

 

 

About Play Therapy and the Association for Play Therapy

The Association for Play Therapy (APT) was established in 1982 and promotes the education of therapists who want to learn how to use play as a form of therapy while treating adolescents and children. “Play” is essentially the language of the child and is used to communicate with them in a way that the child will understand. This form of therapy allows the child to express themselves in an informal manner. It is helpful to children that may be afraid to express their thoughts, or maybe they do not know how to verbalize what they are feeling. It is also beneficial for parents of the children to be involved in this process because it helps them to understand their child. They can also learn some techniques on how to communicate better. Uncomfortable thoughts and feelings can be scary for a young child to navigate. Over the years, play therapy has helped to foster this navigation between therapists, children, and their parents to provide improved treatment for the child.

 

What are the Benefits of Play Therapy? 

 

One of the major benefits is the ability to communicate with the child in a way that they understand. One benefit of therapy is to be able to communicate your thoughts and feelings and whatever situation you may be going through. With adolescents, and especially younger children, this can be difficult to accomplish. Play lets the child relax and casually express themselves over time. Another benefit of play therapy is helping the child to develop coping strategies when it comes to their feelings or uncomfortable situations. Finding the perfect balance between play and therapy can help teach the child coping strategies without it feeling overwhelming. It is important to keep the children engaged and foster communication. This form of therapy can also help to alleviate anxiety a child may feel while communicating with others. Which can lead to stronger social skills and overall more confidence within the child. Building a child’s confidence can create a domino effect of positive behaviors and taking responsibility for those behaviors.  There are many additional benefits of play therapy, but establishing communication, coping mechanisms and social skills are a few of the most important benefits.

 

Overall, play therapy can be used as an intervention or supportive therapy for children and adolescents that have behavioral problems (anxiety, anger management, grief, etc…) or behavioral disorders (anxiety, social development, learning disabilities, etc…). Children can benefit a great deal from participating in play therapy in their treatment to help combat some of these disorders. A strong, and more importantly, safe relationship will help to foster an open and honest connection between the therapist and child. This is necessary for play therapy to be efficient and have a positive effect during treatment.

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