Play Therapy provides an environment that is non-judgemental and supportive for a child. Children who are experiencing difficulties in their lives, whether emotional, physical, social or developmental, benefit from the Play Therapy experience. The trusting relationship that develops with the Therapist facilitates the expression of the child's feelings and difficulties within their play. Children do not verbalise their difficulties, lacking the vocabulary and fluency to do so. Issues are explored through and within their play. To paraphrase Garry Landreth, the toys act in place of the child's words and the play activity becomes his language (Landreth, G., (2005) Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship, 2nd ed., New York: Psychology Press.).
Often children may not recognise what they are feeling and this can be addressed as the Therapist reflects emotional states and feelings that present during play. The child is thus guided to awareness of their feelings. For those children who may have delayed development or play skills, mastery of skills can be worked on during the play sessions in a subtle encouraging approach. Tasks are not set but achievements through effort are reflected to the child, bringing about an increase in self-esteem.
Play Therapy is suitable for use in many situations;