Well … there’s many reasons. And I hope this blog helps to share why it’s so important.
For my first post, I want to share a bit about my foundation of belief in the power of play. To do so, I will share the following quotes that define play therapy from some leaders in the field:
“Play therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self expression. It is an opportunity which is given to the child to “play out” his feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, and individual “talks out” his difficulties.” (Virgina Axline)
“Play therapy can be defined as an interpersonal process wherein a trained therapist systematically applies the curative powers of play to help clients resolve their psychological difficulties.” (Charles Schaefer)
“Play therapy can be defined as a dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child and a therapist trained in play therapy procedures who provides selected play materials and facilitates the development of a safe relationship for the child to fully express and explore self (feelings, thoughts, experiences, and behaviors) through the child’s natural medium of communication, play.” (Garry Landreth)
“Play therapy may be thought of as a set of attitudes in and through which children may feel free enough to express themselves fully, in their own way, so that eventually they may achieve feelings of security, adequacy, and worthiness through emotional insight.” (Clark Moustakas)
In my own words, “Play therapy uses the natural communication of play in the therapeutic relationship to accept, respect, and understand clients. This promotes self-directed, positive growth and insight”.
The basic concepts of play therapy can easily be applied when being with your own children … anyone can use play to help children learn, grow, and discover. And at the same time you are strengthening your relationship with the child (and probably with yourself, too!)
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Laura Hutchison (aka PlayDrMom) is a chubby kid turned competitive figure skater tween turned high school pom pon girl turned MSU Spartan turned grad student turned Mrs. HutcH turned Dr. turned Mom. She adores living in the Mitten, is addicted to Diet Coke, and firmly believes that ice cream is a main food group.