What is Play Therapy?



Play therapy is a way of doing counselling, promoting well-being and preventing trauma with children of two to ten years of age. The therapist leads the child to better self-knowledge, acceptance and dealing with emotions and traumatic events. Awareness of the child’s experiences in the present is created. With the use of techniques such as play dough, drawings, paint and toys these experiences are explored and dealt with. A variety of skills are developed to help children function optimally within their daily routines and activities. The playroom provides a safe environment, and the techniques make the children feel at ease. Because therapy takes place within the child’s frame of reference, the child can reach self-awareness to work through unfinished business.

Play therapy is effective for a variety of social, emotional- and behavioural difficulties. With the start of therapy an informal social and emotional evaluation is done to determine the child’s level of development and if necessary, the child’s coping strategies after trauma. During therapy the therapist focuses on the child’s needs, should it be emotional regulation (dealing with different emotions), social skills, dealing with changes, divorce or working through a grieving process. Play therapy is beneficial for children with special needs as well as their siblings. Parents receive guidance as necessary. It is important that the therapist, parents and in many cases the teacher/s are involved in the therapeutic process to support the child, and where necessary changes made to the environment to be supportive to the child’s needs.

Therapy usually takes place for approximately 45 minutes once or twice per week or every second week according to the child’s needs. This process will be discussed with the parents during the feedback session.