“Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts, and souls meet”.
– Virginia Axline
At Central Valley Family Therapy we think of play for a child as essential. Every child should be given the opportunity to play because play is a child’s language. There are no limits to communication when a child is at play– because the child isn’t limited to the words that they can speak. Instead children communicate through re-enactments with toys and through fantasy play at various ages.
When a child is playing, they are discovering the world and discovering themselves. Through play, children are stimulated socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Play enhances a child’s development. Play not only aids children in developing to their full potential, it is the medium through which children work through difficult experiences. It is in playing freely that a child begins to process inner experiences, makes sense of loss, and works through trauma.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Play Therapy
How does a therapist that provides play therapy help my child?
A therapist that utilizes play therapy as a modality of treatment incorporates developmentally appropriate toys and equipment. A safe and accepting atmosphere is created where a child is encouraged to explore and work. The therapist reflects the child’s efforts to grow and develop, and notes the changes that occur. Playing in the presence of a safe person is healing. The child is given the complete and exclusive attention of the therapist during the session. This leads to the child experiencing himself or herself as worthwhile and likable, which is the key ingredient to good adjustment with self and others.
How do I know if my child needs therapy?
Therapy that uses play is not an intrusive approach, and so is not harmful. It can only benefit children because it encourages play, and children grow on many different levels when they play. Play Therapy can be used to boost growth and as a preventative measure, or it can be used when a child is exhibiting symptoms of a behavioral, social, or emotional struggles.
Can I learn to play in a therapeutic manner with my child?
Absolutely. Talk to your clinician if you would like to learn the basics in setting up a special playtime with your child, and the clinician will coach you in the philosophy of this approach. It is a little like learning a new language–once you can speak it, you have access to a new world of understanding. We believe that the quickest way to build a secure relationship with your child is through play. Since a child’s world consists of games and play and fun, you enter his or her world when you play with him or her. This is perceived as quality time by your child, when you play with him or her, particularly one-on-one.
Play Therapy Helps Children To:
- Achieve developmental tasks
- Sail through life transitions
- Develop creativity and social skills
- Increase confidence and mastery over life
- Develop emotional intelligence
- Process confusing experiences
Play Therapy Fosters Solutions To:
- Bullying, biting, and temper tantrums
- Depression, shyness, and anxiety
- Thumb-sucking, nail-biting, and bed-wetting
- Aggression, sibling rivalry, and acting out
- Sexualized behavior
Play Therapy and Tele-health
Currently, in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, we are offering all play therapy services via a tele-health format. Please see our tele-health page for more information on how you and your child will log into these HIPPA Compliant sessions. All of our clinicians have completed extensive training on how to administer play therapy in a tele-health format. We can help and support your family during this difficult time. In these sessions, we will focus on:
- We can support you and help you to create an emotionally safe home
- How to talk about the virus
- We will meet you and your child where “they are”
- We can support you and help give kids a sense of safety and ownership
- Validating your child’s feelings
- We will support you in understanding your child’s sadness about the virus and how it can manifest in different ways.