When you think of ‘therapy’, you might think in terms of a dialogue - one person talking and one person listening. While this can work well for adults and some adolescents, it is generally not how children operate.
Toys, puppets, art, games, music, and imaginative play provide children a safe way to express thoughts and feelings, process issues, and master new skills.
Examples of ways I have helped children through play therapy:
A child with separation anxiety uses the schoolhouse toys to practice going to school.
A child who has trouble getting along with peers uses puppets to practice social skills such as allowing for personal space, listening skills, and taking turns.
Animal figurines practice going up and down elevator with a child who is fearful of going on the elevator. After a couple of weeks, the child comfortably rides the elevator.
Ambulance and hospital toys are used with a child who experienced medical trauma.
Music, dancing, and yoga poses are used with a child with anxiety.
A child uses art to express their thoughts and feelings about their past abuse.
An adoptive parent and child play a simple game of rolling a ball back and forth that helps foster secure attachment