Play therapy has been around since the early 20th century. What is play therapy? Play therapy is the art of understanding, interpreting, engaging, and enjoying play with children. Children’s play is the most natural way that children express their feelings, thoughts, and emotions.
A play therapist is trained specifically to understand child’s play, and s/he is trained to understand the free associations that children make while moving from toy to toy. A play therapist is trained to understand the symbolism behind each toy with which the child plays, and is trained to help a child understand his/her innermost feelings and thoughts. The play therapist is also specifically trained to use a myriad of theoretical orientations to help children and their families fully address and resolve painful life situations. A play therapist is trained to know, understand, and apply the most fitting approach to helping children, whether it is Adlerian, Jungian, Cognitive Behavioral, Hypnotherapy, EMDR, or Theraplay.
Play therapy is the most impactful means of engaging a child. A child enters a playroom and chooses among toys, like a sandbox, a dollhouse, army soldiers, or dolls. A child moves to a toy which will include the play therapist. The essential importance of the relationship, not only with the toy, but between the therapist and the child, is one of the phenomena that a play therapist is keenly aware of from his/her training. Many different problems enter into a play therapist’s room. Whether it is abuse, abandonment, divorce, problems with peers, school grades, or simple adjustment problems concerning special needs, a play therapist is trained to embrace these challenges. As play therapists understand and appreciate that there are problems in the world, children need someone to help them with these challenges. The play therapist that has been trained beyond a master’s level of mental health training is able to identify the problem and then guide the child and the family toward solutions.
Children and families are confronted with more obstacles than previous generations. In today’s world, play therapists feel the challenges of electronics entitlement, and increasing divorces. Through their training, learning techniques such as how to bounce a ball to a child, how to play with clay, how to maneuver sand and water, or play a game together, have the express purpose to help a child with his/her innermost painful feelings and thoughts. The world is more aggressive, noisy and destructive. Tragedies, traumas and fear, are what a play therapist is trained to recognize. These confusing, strange and scary feelings are what a play therapist can help children resolve. A play therapist is trained to help a child to navigate these tumultuous times.
Interested in becoming a Registered Play Therapist?
Allan Gonsher, Founder & CEO of Kids Inc, has developed an online accredited play therapy training program that you can take from the comfort of your own home. Join the full program or attend a webinar.
Former students love that they can take classes online. This program is taught by multiple qualified play therapy professionals from various backgrounds.
We also offer individual and packages of webinars!
Ask about our early bird special!