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What is Play Therapy? Why does it make a difference?

Please take a moment to meet Andrew.

This video gives an example of a play therapy session.

This video introduces your child to play therapy and gives an idea about what to expect when attending a session for the first time.

A Little About Play Therapy

Are All Child Therapists Play Therapists?       No, So what's the difference?

A Registered Play therapist must meet the following requirements:

earn a graduate or higher mental health degree

be a licensed mental health provider in their state

have a minimum of 2000 hours of clinical experience

have 150 clock hours of play therapy specific training

complete 500 hours of supervised play therapy specific experience plus

complete 50 hours of concurrent play therapy specific supervision.

Play Therapy History

As early as 429-327 B.C. Plato recognized play as important. He reportedly observed, “You can discover more about a person in 1 hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

1909 Sigmund Freud documented the first case describing the therapeutic use of play.

1942 Carl Rogers developed Non-directive therapy which was later called client-centered therapy.

Filial Therapy developed by Bernard and Louise Guerney was the new innovation to play therapy in the 1960s.

In 1982 the Association for Play Therapy was founded to promote the advancement of play therapy.

What Play Therapy Can Do

The most important aspect of therapy is to determine what the needs are and how to help the person communicate his or her thoughts, feelings, and needs. Play is the child’s language and if we are going to help children, we have to be able to speak their language.

-Play and having playful items in the therapy space creates an inviting atmosphere and works to lower resistance, especially for those children who really don’t want to be in therapy or talk about their issues. Lowering resistance makes the child more comfortable and less likely to be disrespectful.

-Play can give the child practice in learning new skills both academically and socially. The more the child rehearses the skills, the more likely those skills are to become habits. Play can give the child a sense of mastery and help the child to be armed with a repertoire of coping skills.

-Schools often talk about the various ways a child can learn and the unique learning styles of each individual. The 3 learning styles of audio, visual, and kinesthetic are all incorporated into the play session, thus creating a great learning environment for teaching new skills.


Interventions utilized At SAFARI KIDZ COUNSELING include both directive and non directive play techniques. Directive play techniques are interventions in which the therapist stages the activity and play, providing the child with direction and a focus for the play. These techniques may include sand play, game play, artistic and expressive play to address a specific skill or symptom. Non-directive play techniques include sand play, and free play scenarios. During non-directive play, the child leads the play activity and the therapist is more of an observer of the play. Floor time techniques are employed with young children to allow the child to lead the play and assist with joint attention and initiation of interactions.

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