Play Therapy is a developmentally appropriate way to work with children. Just like adults, children experience a variety of thoughts and feelings. Play Therapy helps children express these thoughts and feelings in a natural way: through play. Play is the natural language of children and they use toys as their words. In play therapy, children learn to develop appropriate ways to communicate thoughts, wishes, feelings and ideas. Children learn self-control, problem-solving techniques, and how to value themselves. Play therapy helps the whole child grow and develop.
The Association for Play Therapy (APT) is an international organization that was developed in 1982 to promote the value of play, play therapy, and the credentialing of play therapists. According to APT, play therapy is "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."
APT released the following video to explain how play therapy works for children (link will open in new window):
Play therapy is an effective intervention for children with all presenting problems. Dr. Carlson has worked with children in play therapy with various diagnoses, including Autism, Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. She has also helped children struggling with grief, loss, transitions, worries, fears, anger, sexual abuse, family, violence, as well as a variety of other experiences.