As adults we have the ability and tools to verbally express our needs and wants and talk through them to gain perspective and insight. For children, 3 to 12 years of age, this is more challenging as they do not have the same cognitive ability to process their emotions verbally. Therefore, oftentimes their behaviors and actions are a more accurate reflection of what’s going on emotionally. When children are “acting out,” it is often their inability to manage their feelings of being overwhelmed.
Play therapy uses the child’s natural language of play in a structured and healing manner. This form of therapy allows children to express their experiences and feelings, cope with difficult emotions, and find effective solutions to problems due to its non-threatening nature. It has been found to be highly effective for children with behavioral difficulties such as: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorders, academic and social development, physical and learning disabilities, and conduct disorders. Other areas of concern for children such as: Depression, anxiety, anger management, grief and loss, divorce and other disruptions in the family, and trauma are also effectively managed through the use of play therapy.