“Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts, and souls meet.” – Virginia Axline
Parents, guardians, and other caregivers often ask questions like, “Why should I let my kid come to counseling to just play? Don’t they do that at home? How is playing in your office any different?” My answer is simple: play is the natural language of children, and we can utilize it to bring healing for anything from adjustment difficulties to complex developmental trauma. From birth (or perhaps even before birth), children are nurtured through play. Whether it’s tickling during a diaper change or bouncing to silly rhymes, children are drawn to play as a place to explore their world, their social relationships, and even their difficulties. For a more in depth look at the importance, appropriateness, and efficacy of play therapy, take a look at Play Therapy Makes a Difference and Why Play Therapy? from the Association for Play Therapy.
And don’t be mistaken – play therapy can be helpful for adults, too. As we take on adult responsibilities, we can lose touch with our playful side. Because of that, it can be helpful to take a playful approach to therapy with adults, whether that means using the sandtray or using expressive therapeutic media.