Play therapy an important part of a child's healthy development
"Play therapy is an opportunity offered to the child to experience growth under the most favorable circumstances,” according to Virginia Axline. But play therapy is not play alone. The child is given the opportunity to play out the accumulated feelings of tension, insecurity, aggression, fear, bewilderment, and confusion in a safe, therapeutic setting.
Within the framework of a therapeutic relationship, play becomes an opportunity to heal. By bringing these feelings out in the open and facing them in the safety of play, the child is able to learn to control them, or choose to abandon them.
Non directive play therapy is a child-centered approach which takes into account how the personality is formed and structured. It includes the use of toys and play, the language of the child. The process Includes:
Developing a working alliance Helping the child to understand his or her experience;
Linking understanding with feelings;
Reducing troublesome feelings;
Every effort is made to include the parents and other family members as best suits the child’s treatment. Family meetings are scheduled periodically to discuss the child’s progress with the parents and to support the child’s growth.
Building a therapeutic relationship is the foundation of all therapy, and must be given sufficient time. Children cannot be rushed and still feel important.
Relationship with the Self
When the child achieves emotional relaxation, the child will begin to realize his or her power within to be an individual in his or her own right, to think for himself, to make her own decisions, to become psychologically more mature, and by so doing, to realize selfhood.
Objective of Play Therapy
To offer the child a safe and non-judgmental environment to learn about herself/himself and to gain acceptance of self. To express emotions freely, and to learn to manage them appropriately. Correct distortions and allow the child to process and understand trauma on his or her own terms.
Goal of Play Therapy
To help the child whose efforts to grow have been blocked or hindered. To regain his or her confidence and self expression. To develop in a normal, healthy manner.
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About the Blogger
Shane Porter, a licensed mental health counselor who has been in private practice since 1998, is president of the Counseling Center of New Smyrna Beach. He is married to Karen Porter and they live in New Smyrna Beach.