Children are a blessing. Watching your children interact and play brings joy to your heart—no wonder you quickly notice something is wrong. You may see that your children are distant or exhibiting signs of anxiety. You may be worried that your child’s stress may negatively impact her happiness and well-being. You may fear that if her anxiety is not addressed, it may escalate into something more serious.
A common fear you may experience is judgment from other parents. You may be scared that other parents may criticize your ability to raise your child. These fears are usual. You care for your child, and you want them to feel better. You want any emotional struggles your child is dealing with solved. As the supportive and caring parent you are, you want answers.
What is Play Therapy?
A therapeutic solution to address your child’s anxiety is play therapy. Play therapy involves playing with toys, role-playing or games. Mental health professionals use Play therapy to observe children during playtime and help them share their thoughts and feelings. Children do not know how to articulate their problems to adults, so connecting with children while playing allows therapists to explore the challenges children face.
There are two kinds of play therapy – Directive Play therapy, where therapists lead the child through guided play activities to express themselves and Non-directive Play Therapy, where children are in a non-controlled environment and left to play with whatever activities they choose. Therapists work towards the goals of assisting children with taking responsibility for their behaviors and developing better-coping strategies, learning appropriate ways to express emotions and interact with others, and building skills for creative thinking and problem-solving.
Benefits of Play Therapy
Play therapy allows children to express themselves through play activities. They may not be able to communicate their feelings, but they may be able to draw them out.
Children are in a more open and inviting space when in play therapy as opposed to the traditional forms of treatment. This environment increases comfort and reassurance from children.
The development of communication and social skills is another benefit of play therapy. Through play, children become better at expressing themselves.
As children play, whether through solving puzzles or building structures, they learn how to solve problems and develop problem-solving skills.
Children gain coping strategies as they learn to work through challenging emotions.
Children learn responsibility in play therapy. After playing with toys and activities in the session, they are involved in the clean-up process.
Children make sense of the world around them through play therapy. They reenact what they see to understand what it means for them.
Increased focus and concentration are other benefits of play therapy. They pay more attention as they interact with the therapist while expressing themselves through play.
Role-playing is part of play therapy which enhances children’s imagination and creativity as they play different roles.
Process of Play Therapy
The therapist completes an initial assessment to learn about the child’s needs. A customized treatment plan is developed outlining the goals and structure of treatment sessions. The therapist encourages the child to express their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, parents are brought into play in therapy sessions to help improve family dynamics.
Play Therapy in Colorado Springs
At The Center for Cognitive Health, we start listening the moment we meet. Our job is to make sure you feel heard, cared for and get the help you need from the time you walk through our real or virtual door until your treatments are done.
Get the support and tools you need to manage anxiety, heal from depression or adjust to a major life transition.