Have you ever been doing a reading a book and all the sudden you have a random thought; a solution to a problem you were thinking about earlier? In simplicity, that is how play therapy works. The brain is a fascinating organ that has the ability to self-heal. Especially when properly guided and directed. The therapists at ABC Family Counseling do just that – guide and lead clients to heal past trauma – and in our experience, play therapy is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this.
Have you ever sat and watched your child in play? It’s such a intriguing experience to sit and see what your child can come up with and how far their imagination can go. Often when a child experiences changes or traumatic situations they can use play to help speed up the adjustment process. In other words, when your child plays their brain has the ability, the freedom you could say, to process out their problems. In fact, recent studies have proven that playing is as important to human happiness as love and work
It’s in the Brain
If you think about it, playing is the child’s natural language. It’s fun, enjoyable and satisfying and it activates the right side of the brain. Without getting too much into the neuroscience behind your little kiddo, there are two sides of the brain – the right and the left.
The left brain is logical, logistical, literal and linear (puts things in sequence). This side of the brain is under construction all the way until the mid twenties – which just basically means we can’t use this side of our brain to the fullest. Your child can access this side of his brain but it isn’t their ruling force.
On the other hand the right brain is nonverbal and emotional. Our right brain allows us to send and receive signals that allow us to communicate (with facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice, posture and gestures). Instead of details and order, the right brain cares about the big picture – the meaning and feel of an experience.
The details of how the brain works in adults and children is crucial to understand. Our therapists are highly trained in the details – this ensures that they can understand the client, effectively communicate, and come up with the correct treatment plan.
What are the Benefits of Play Therapy?
If you think about it play therapy
- Activates the right side of the brain in the most natural ways.
- It expands self-knowledge, self-expression, self-worth.
- It elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life – it just makes us happy!
- Playing relieves feelings of stress and boredom,
- Helps a child cope with difficult emotions
- Connects us to people in a positive way,
- Stimulates creative thinking and exploration,
- Regulates our emotions and boosts our ego.
- It even allows us to practice skills or roles needed for survival.
- Learning and development are best fostered through play.
As the child is in his or her natural element, trust is gained and the child feels safe. This opens the door to allow the therapist to strategically understand what is troubling the child. Because remember, children don’t have all the skills to express themselves with words (that’s the left brain), so the therapist harnesses the nonverbal communication skills (the right brain) to help the child process and solve any trauma they might be experiencing.
What type of problems does Play Therapy work for?
While playing is important for all humans, play therapy is most effective for children between the ages of 3 – 13. Teenagers and Adults can benefit, but for the most part, different therapeutic strategies are used in those situations. Read about our adolescent therapy strategies here.
So you might be wondering if your child needs this type of therapy. If your child fits into any of these categories below he or she would experience high benefits in play therapy.
- Academic or Social outbursts
- Anger Management
- Chronic Illness
- Conduct Disorders
- Crisis or Trauma
- Domestic Violence
- Grief or Loss
- Learning Disabilities
- Personality Changes
- Physical or Sexual Abuse
If you are questioning in the slightest if play therapy is a right fit for your child, call and chat with us. We always respond within 24 business hours and are happy to figure out the best fit for you and your child.
How does Play Therapy actually work?
Well now that we know that playing is important, how does it actually work? What does it look like?
To be honest, there is a wide range of effective therapeutic “playing”. It might appear as playing a card game together, a board game, playing with cars, trains, dolls, and other toys found in the therapy office. ABC Family Counseling specializes in Sand Tray Therapy as their main method of play therapy. Taking all aspects of play therapy into effect, sand tray therapy can help a child express and process their nonverbal feelings.
Why ABC Family Counseling for Play Therapy?
At ABC Family Counseling play therapy is used to integrate both sides of the brain, help the child process the change or trauma and ultimately help the child learn how to survive and thrive in their own environment. Family members, especially parents, are highly encouraged to attend the play therapy sessions and engage in this healing process.
For a free consultation to see if Play Therapy is right for your son or daughter, please call 801-361-2237.