What is Play Therapy

Alex Robboy, CAS, MSW, LCSW
Individual, Couples & Family Therapy
IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor
Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.

Posted by: Alex Robboy
CAS, MSW, LCSW Individual, Couples & Family Therapy IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.
267-324-9564

Play Therapy in Philadelphia : Play therapy is a structured approach to therapy that builds on the natural language of children, the language of play.  Therapists use various play materials to help children express what is troubling them when they are not able to verbalize their thoughts and feelings as adults do in more traditional talk therapy.  In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language. Through play, therapists may help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are problems with emotional or social skills..  The major goals of play therapy are the enhancement of self-esteem and decision-making skills.  These tools help children to handle life’s various stressors as well as providing the confidence and insight necessary to resolve any problem behaviors.  Play therapy is widely regarded as the most effective form of therapy for children ages 3-11 years.

Play Therapy / Family Therapy is a method that offers significant help for childhood issues and problems including: peer interactions, separation anxiety, difficulties reading social cues, toilet training, withdrawn behavior, school misbehavior, inattention, impulsivity and aggression, playing in an age appropriate way, separation and divorce as well as various trauma experiences. Play-Family Therapy can also be used preventively when parents feel that the situation may decline without attention to a particular concern.

 (strategies for telling a child about the upcoming appointment) 

After an evaluation, the child’s play therapy sessions begin with twenty minutes of family therapy, which addresses the issues of concern: parental divorce, fighting, autism, ADHD. During the family therapy, the therapist meets with the child and the accompanying parent. During the play therapy, the therapist meets in a playroom with the child. Through the play, the child’s conscious and unconscious communication allow for deeper insight into areas of concern.  During play therapy children use their whole mind and body and reveal their unconscious thoughts, fears, anxieties and wishes. The therapist is continually tracking the metaphors or themes of play during the session to understand the root of the child’s problematic behaviors.  These patterns are shared with the parents at regularly scheduled parent sessions (without the child present) where the therapist will work with the parents to develop home behavioral strategies. 

By confronting problems in a play therapy setting, children can find healthier solutions. Play therapy allows children to change the way they think about, feel toward, and resolve their concerns.  Adults use words to express their concerns, seek help and eventually gain mastery over the problem.  Children use play to master feelings, concerns and confusing or unsettling life events.  Play therapy provides children with a clinical setting in which they can create lasting resolutions that can be safely discovered, rehearsed, mastered and adapted into lifelong strategies. To learn more about how play therapy can support the work that parents are already doing.. . .