Play Therapy 101 – Part 1: “How Was School Today?”

Have you heard the term: Play Therapy? Do you ever wonder how is it different from more traditional talk therapy?

“Play is to the child what verbalization is to an adult.”

– Garry L. Landreth

A child’s first language is play. This is how children communicate with parents and authority figures their thoughts and feelings when they do not have the words.

Play Therapy can be used as a tool to help address not only emotional challenges, but also cognitive and behavioral struggles as well.

Trained professionals use directive or non-directive approaches for children to process, manage, and discover more effective strategies in order to manage their own world. 

I encourage you to watch the video below created by the Association for Play Therapy and put yourself in your child’s shoes. This video was created to psychoeducate parents and guardians on why they get frustrated when their child has no answer to the common question, “How was school today?” 

“Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self expression…It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as in certain types of adult therapy an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.” 

– Virginia Axline, Psychologist and one of the pioneers in the use of play therapy

If you are curious about expanding your Play Therapy vocabulary then check out the Glossary of Play Therapy Terms from Charles E. Schaefer, Ph.D., RPT-S and Mary Anne Peabody, Ed.D., LCSW, RPT-S or visit the Parents Corner on the APT website for additional resources. 

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more or needing guidance on how to get connected with a play therapist in your area. 

Written by: Lisa S. Miller