Play therapy is the very heart of the treatment of emotional and behavior problems in young children. Play Therapy is a gentle and non-threatening form of emotional therapy. It reaches the inner world of the child’s feelings, thoughts and behaviors by using the child’s most comfortable and natural language—play. In the supportive, individualized atmosphere of the therapeutic playroom, children can begin to express through play their difficult feelings such as frustration, fear and anger. As difficult feelings are discharged through play and begin to be verbalized, children grow in self-confidence. And as they improve in their ability to communicate their feelings verbally, their tensions and frustration diminish. This makes room for more positive feelings and latent strengths to emerge. With the child’s newfound strengths, supported by the therapist, the earlier presenting emotional and behavioral difficulties fade. Gradually, children are able to transfer their new-found strengths and improved self-image to family and educational settings.
The field of play therapy has been practiced for over 70 years. There is an extensive clinical literature, a growing research tradition, and an APA-affiliated journal. Play therapy is practiced world-wide by specially trained and qualified mental health care professionals.