Home / What is Play Therapy? Learn Techniques and Ideas for Kids and Adults

What is Play Therapy? Learn Techniques and Ideas for Kids and Adults

For Ideas and Techniques Read “Play Therapy: The Art of
the Relationship”

What is play therapy and how can children and adults benefit from this type of therapy?

We all have complex emotions, sometimes we are not even aware of deeply repressed emotions we hold about parents,
siblings, people who have treated us badly, and other situations where we were hurt or angered.

By using play therapy techniques, which allow the person to act out true but possibly repressed feelings without
being judged, we can allow a child or adult to get touch their emotions and rid themselves of negative emotional
states. Play therapy is especially good when dealing with children who have seen or experienced domestic
violence, sexual or physical abuse, or have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships with others.

Play therapy techniques include role playing, using toys, puppets and dolls to communicate what has happened
to them and how they feel about these events in their lives. Often, a child will allow a doll or puppet to
say the things they do not feel they are free to tell to anyone. Skilled therapists also use drawing and
art work to allow feelings to flow and become expressed and eventually resolved.

One of the play therapy ideas commonly used by therapist interacting with children is to ask the child to
draw a picture of their family. The sizes, positions, colors and attributes of the drawing can reveal to
the professional therapist many feelings and emotions as well as actual events that the child has chosen
not to reveal. For example, the child of a practicing alcoholic may never discuss the drinking of a parent,
but their drawings may well focus on huge bottles held by a smaller image of their alcoholic parent. This
applies to a great many other situations that can be analyzed through play therapy.

Play therapy for children and adults can also allow the bonding with others to form healthy relationships
for people who may have experience only with serious dysfunctional interactions. When adults enter into play
therapy, they are able to gain access to their inner child. Very often, emotional repression and unhealthy
feelings are formed in childhood and adults learn to ignore surface exhibition of these emotional traumas.
However, with adult play therapy the person has the space to realize and act out those feelings, they can
reach a resolution and closure, allowing them to become happier, healthier people.

So, what is play therapy? It is a fun way to for anyone to work out feelings they have elected to avoid dealing
with and which have caused unhappiness, depression, and other emotional problems to burden their lives. It
can be a very healthy outlet and can work at times that talk therapy simply doesn’t get to the root problems
behind the emotional traumas of life.

Highly Recommended Book Offers Play Therapy Techniques and Ideas

Often used as the textbook of choice for educators and schools, this book should be a part of every therapists
library, especially professionals who work with children.

Even if you are not a professional therapist, you will find much value from reading, Play Therapy: The Art
of the Relationship, and will refer to it many times when looking for techniques and ideas to stimulate and
engage both children and adults in building good relationships.