Discover what makes Play Therapy one of the most effective and proven methods of communicating with children.
What is Play Therapy and how can it help?
Play Therapy is a method of helping children with behaviour and emotional problems to help themselves by giving them an opportunity to ‘play out’ their feelings and problems. Play Therapy is beneficial for all children and it helps the child make sense of difficulties in their life that they cannot change. It helps children understand complex experiences or upsetting feelings and gives them a strategy for coping on their own when support may not be available.
Play therapy is characterised by the treatment of the whole person using non-directive and directive approaches whereby the child may lead and the therapist follows. Read more (Axline’s Principles). The therapist works with unconscious and conscious processes and evidence from neuroscience shows the effectiveness and power of working with metaphor. Read More (Neuroscience).
What does Play Therapy Involve?
Play Therapists use play and creative arts as a language to communicate with children and adolescents.
Individual sessions can last up to one hour and are held in a private room with carefully selected toys, sand trays, water, musical instruments, puppets, clay and art-and-craft materials.
Should my child do Play Therapy?
If you are currently in contact with a child who you feel needs extra support, perhaps Play Therapy is the answer.
Play Therapy is an effective therapy that helps children modify their behaviours, develop social skills and boost self-esteem. In play therapy, children are supported by the therapist to express their confusing and painful emotions through play activities and through playing with the child.
Monkey Monday Video series on Sensory Play: A technique used in Play Therapy
This first short video, in the Monkey Monday series, is designed for parents to assist them in setting out a contained play space to explore sensory play with their children. The series covers using different media such as finger paint, flour, dried food, sand and clay with children using some of the techniques used in play therapy. All of these wonderful tactile materials will be explored in more detail during the series highlighting the links between sensory play and a child’s emotional a physical development.
This is the second video in the Monkey Monday series on sensory play for parents. It details how to make finger paint in your very own kitchen using flour water and paint. The video also alludes to using non-directive play techniques, as well as the importance of containing a play area for both parent and child. Some benefits such as relaxation as well as the development of fine motor skills are highlighted and most of all you are invited to see and hear children having fun exploring this wonderful accessible material.
Fun with Food
This is the third video in the Monkey Monday series on sensory play for parents. Useful suggestions of products such as rice, lentils, split peas and pasta are made and how these can be less daunting than wet media when embarking on a journey of messy play. We see how the children explore and test new sensations in the rising and falling of the fine flowing material as well as how deeply relaxing working with sound, touch and rhythm can be when directed entirely by the child. Finally, we notice how children can work through some strong emotions as well as experiencing the permissiveness of being allowed to make a mess in a contained environment.
This is the fourth video in the Monkey Monday series on sensory play for parents. Play experiences, such as working with dry flour, encourages the development of writing skills before any tools such as crayons or chalks are introduced. Messy play is effective in encouraging this development because you don’t need any specialist equipment; you use what you already have in your home. We see how sharing a dry flour tray in group work promotes communication skills and how flour can be useful in helping children develop foundations in social skills at an early age. Through some of these sensory activities children make sense of sharing space or taking turns.
This is the fifth video in the Monkey Monday series on sensory play for parents. In this video we see how children use mixed media such as play doh to create shapes and figurines and immerse them in sand. The very nature of tactile expression in actions such as clenching, squeezing, grabbing and throwing suggest how trapped emotional release may lead to a process of self-discovery into a person’s inner world. Positive parent-child interaction, using sand, frequently leads to more effective parenting and enhanced self-esteem.
This is the sixth and final video in the Monkey Monday series on sensory play for parents. In this video we see the potential of working with the earth. Clay allows you to ‘slow down’ and ‘get busy’ having exploratory fun which can produce deeply relaxing outcomes. In a matter of moments clay can take us back, very far in time, to infantile moments of delightful discovery. You can create a safe container for you and your children working with clay, by spending a few minutes setting-up a space that you can be messy in. This video captures how children can enjoy the sensory tactile experience of clay and how it is truly a wonderful medium for exploratory work.