Children communicate through
play. Play is the child's language and is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and
brightens our outlook on life. Play therapy allows children to express themselves freely without
needing the vocabulary that adults have in a typical talk therapy. It expands self-expression,
self-knowledge, self-actualization and self-efficacy. Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects us to people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates
our emotions, and boosts our ego (Landreth, 2002). In addition, play allows us to practice skills and roles needed for survival.
Who Benefits from Play
Although everyone benefits, play therapy is especially
appropriate for children ages 3 through 12 years old.
Play therapy helps children:
- That their feelings are acceptable
- Become more responsible for behaviors and develop more successful strategies.
- Respect themselves
- Develop new and creative solutions to problems.
- Express their feelings responsibly
- Develop respect and acceptance of self and others.
- Learn to experience and express emotions.
- Cultivate empathy and respect for thoughts and feelings of others.
- Learn new social skills and relational skills with family.
- Acceptance of themselves
- Develop self-efficacy and thus a better assuredness about their abilities.
- Be responsible for their own choices
Synergetic Play Therapy:
Synergetic Play Therapy is the first research-informed model to blend neuroscience, attachment/attunement, therapist authenticity,
physics, emotional congruence, nervous system regulation, and mindfulness/mindsight. While adults find relief in talking about their difficulties, children often cannot express their thoughts and
feelings in words. Therefore, it is helpful for children to express themselves naturally through play. Play therapy allows children to recreate experiences in therapy that remind them of past or
current challenges. In this controlled setting, our therapists help children become fully aware of their physical sensations, emotions, thoughts, and interactions with others. The therapist then
teaches and models new ways the child can think about or respond to their challenges. Once the child begins to realize and try on these new choices, the therapist highlights these cognitive and
behavioral changes to reinforce the pattern in the child’s brain and nervous system.