Play therapy, or therapeutic play, is a well-researched and empirically proven form of therapy for children. Research, both qualitative and quantitative, shows that it is highly effective in many cases. Recent research by “Play Therapy UK” suggests that 71% of the children referred to play therapy will show a positive change.
With a skilled practitioner, a safe, confidential and caring environment is created which allows the child to play with as few limits as possible (while being mindful of physical and emotional safety). Children have a natural inclination to play; the play process can be seen as a non-verbal language in which children express subconscious emotions, conflict and confusion. When provided a therapeutic relationship as a foundation for play, children can move through conflict, loss or pain with the therapist. Every person has a natural inclination toward healing when provided a safe, respectful environment.
Through play, the therapist may reflect back to the child observations of what is happening, and they may reflect alternatives to what is happening as well. Through acted out scenarios, the child may be shown strategies to cope with difficulties they face in life and which they themselves cannot change. It can provide an alternate view of their life and consequently of themselves. When this is done skillfully, within play, the child may not even be aware they are learning and processing difficult emotions. It seems like play.
Megan Hughes has received expert supervision and training in the area of child counselling using play therapy. If you are concerned that your child may be suffering and in need of therapy, please call Stillwater Studio at 604-734-2779 and speak with Megan Hughes.