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About Play Therapy

In the treatment of children psychologists and other professionals have often struggled to find an effective approach.  Play therapy was really the first approach that was designed directly for children.  The most frequent models of intervention are adult models that have been modified to fit children instead of being created with the unique needs of children in mind.  Play therapy is designed to allow professionals the opportunity to engage with children in a dialogue that is most familiar to them.  Unfortunately, "play" implies frivolousness in our culture.  Let me assure you that play therapy is anything but that. 


Play therapy provides the clinician with the unique opportunity to understand a child's world view.  Developmental considerations from typical coping skills to cognitive capacities have been sensitively examined to inform this approach.  A play therapist will often say that play is the language that children speak.  Children will enter into play in such a way that helps us better understand how they understand their own emotions, thoughts, and relationships.  Through play we can intervene therapeutically to facilitate growth in these same domains.   


As research has begun to inform us, play therapy is really at the cutting edge of therapeutic interventions designed to meet the unique needs of children.  Expect that your child will enjoy his or her sessions.  When asked what they have done in session, they will say that they "played."  Play therapy allows us to intervene with children in a way that is consistent with how they experience the world.  It is non-threatening to children because we are not pushing them beyond their typical developmental capacities.  

Problems that can be addressed in treatment include: 

  • anxiety

  • depression

  • behavior problems

  • moodiness and irritability

  • self regulation

  • self esteem

  • acting out and aggressive behavior

  • irritability

  • selective mutism

  • social skills

  • family relationships

  • attachment problems

  • trauma

  • adjustment to life transitions including parental separation and divorce

  • grief and loss

  • chronic or acute illness

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