Play therapy utilizes play, a child’s natural mode of expression, to help them express their feelings through toys and games instead of words. Play therapy includes activities such as puppet play, role-play, sand tray, and creating artwork. Gary Landreth, one of the leading pioneers of Play Therapy, stated that “toys work like the child’s words and play is the child’s language”. What may seem like idle play, in fact can reveal a great deal about a child’s emotions and experiences. Play Therapy is the modality most often applied when providing therapy with children. It has also been effectively utilized as another form of therapy when treating teens and families in counseling services. The focus of play therapy is to utilize play as the language to create healing.
Plush friendly dragons, chatty frogs, & curious owls, will converse with clients about their experiences within their world allowing young clients to entrust puppets and share what they would often hesitate to say out loud to anyone. By utilizing Play Therapy, children are provided the opportunity to role-play, acting out their thoughts and feelings and providing the therapist with insight into their life experiences. Play therapy provides clients with the ability to speak through actions and communicate complex feelings, experiences and emotions through representation. Developing miniature worlds in a sand tray, creating artwork, and allowing puppets to tell client’s stories permits play to navigate the path toward growth and healing for children.