Play is a natural medium for children and families to express feelings, solve problems, and build skills. Children’s play can uncover their internal conflicts, bring to light negative communication patterns in families, and help children and families to discover new problem-solving techniques and strategies.
Play therapy can ameliorate the effects of trauma and loss, reduce anxiety and depression, improve children’s behavior, and help children manage social and academic difficulties. Family play therapy can be particularly effective at strengthening family relationships.
Yes. Therapists usually vary their approach depending on what may most benefit children and families. Play therapists can take a non-directive approach, limiting their interventions to reflecting on clients’ actions and verbalizations. They may also interpret the underlying feelings and conflicts that the play illuminates. At times therapists may actively participate in the play. They may also direct children or families to play specific games that assist them in resolving particular issues. Therapists may also combine the play with “talk time”.
Twelve sessions seems to be the minimum number of sessions for effecting significant and lasting improvement. Sometimes, children and families can make progress in a shorter time frame if they have already worked with the therapist previously.
It is usually best when children and families attend play therapy a minimum of one time per week, at least for the first several sessions. More intense treatment can be helpful for difficult problems. After clients make significant gains, sometimes they can continue to make progress attending sessions one time every two weeks or less.
Play therapy is one of the most empirically validated forms of therapy for children and families. Some studies indicate that play therapy can exert positive effects for several years after the end of treatment