Play therapy is a treatment technique I use with clients, which most widely used with children. Play is fun and enjoyable to people through out the life span. Play is important to human happiness and well being as love and work (Schaefer, 1993). Play expands self-expressions, self- knowledge, self-actualization, and self- efficacy. Play relieves feelings of stress or boredom. It connects people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates emotions, and boost confidence. Play allows us to practice skills and roles needed for survival (Landerth, 2002).
The reason of Play therapy use for children because it builds on the way that children naturally
learn and understand their world and their relationships by playing. Therefore, toys become words and the
play becomes the language or the way to communicate.
When a child is stressed or upset, they are much more likely to demonstrate their feelings and frustrations by acting them out. Adults see the acting out behaviors as troubling behaviors. Play therapy provide children with an outlet through the use of toys and/or other activities like art, dress up, puppets, Sandtray, story telling, and other methods of play to help with expressions of feelings, emotions, and thoughts in a more natural way for them. Play therapy allows children and others to lower their stress levels and thus be able to rehearse new ways to solve problems.
Play therapy is also my treatment of choice for my adult clients whenever I see fit. The reason is that when people are stressed, the part of the brain involved in language, processing of emotions, problem solving and critical thinking is not easily accessible for them. In fact, talking about problems or traumas can sometimes make people feel worse because they tell the same stressful stories or repeat the same negative thought patterns over and over. Non-verbal activities, like play and/ or art can more quickly help them understand a situation with sort of “scanning” the problem to give them more or new perspective and distance themselves from the problem, and therefore, they will feel less stuck in it, and are more able to develop solutions (Teleira, 2015).
Research has demonstrated that Play Therapy benefit adults who struggle in communicating their thoughts and feelings in “talk” therapy intervention. It can be successfully incorporated into other form of treatments for adult clients. In implementations with adults, Play Therapy looks like role plays, psychodrama, the use of games, Sandtray, and art to open up the hidden traumas that are buried within. Play therapy allows for the use of humor, relaxation, and enrichment into the process of uncovering areas of great pain from a safer, in more non -directive approach. Play therapy interventions promote healing and stress reduction simply by giving clients the permission they need to access the child within (Eller, 2001).
Play therapy has proven equally effective no matter the child’s age, gender or type of problem children. Additionally, positive effects were found to be greatest when there was a parent actively involved if the client is a child.