Play therapy is a conscious and systematic process provided by a licensed mental health professional with specialized training and certification. Play therapy offers children the opportunity to work through emotional issues such as past exposure to trauma, anxiety, grief, depression, or anger. Play therapy also offers children the opportunity to develop cognitive problem solving skills to achieve mastery and competence when faced with difficulties. Mastery, competence and autonomy are the foundations for a solid self-esteem. Other benefits of play therapy include opportunities to learn emotional and physical self-regulation. A good play therapist is a role model and offers children a variety of sensory experiences as well as physical activities and training in relaxation techniques.
We know that play is the primary means through which children learn. During play children practice communication skills, social behaviors, relatedness, expressive abilities, and learn coping mechanisms. The play room offers the child a safe haven in which he\she can develop, practice and consolidate new skills. For a certain child, the play may be an opportunity for catharsis, for another it is a chance to learn how to identify and express feelings appropriately, while for a third it may offer the opportunity to learn flexibility in behavior and thinking.
Because this therapy is fun and interesting, the child is invested and engaged – necessary requirements for a successful outcome. The voluntary nature of the play (the child picks the activity) offers the child a positive experience of control.
For more information, please contact Ruth at 201-894-5800, ext. 102