To sum up, play therapy is a type of therapy where therapists allow clients (who are often but not always children) to play during sessions, rather than simply sitting with clients and asking them questions about their problems.
For example, the therapist might simply let the client run around blowing bubbles and popping them for stress relief reasons or to help a child bond with other children in a group session (Schaeffer & Cangelosi, 2016).
For example, the therapist might simply give the client paper and some crayons (or any drawing materials) and ask them to draw a picture. The therapist can then ask open-ended questions about the picture once it is complete.
For example, the therapist might have a client simply play with a hula hoop, so that they focus and relax, which might put them in a better state of mind for a therapy session. This technique can also help clients to integrate facets of the mind and body (Krueger & Schofield, 1986).
For example, the therapist might present the client with a number of toy instruments and simply ask the client to make up a song or play along with another song. This can help the client express themselves, build self-esteem, and improve the therapist-client relationship (Moreno, 1985).
For example, the therapist might simply play a familiar strategy game with the client, such as chess, checkers, or pick up sticks. This can help the client focus and feel happier, as well as foster a bond between the client and therapist. These games can be especially useful during early therapy sessions if the client is uncomfortable with the therapist or the idea of therapy itself.
For example, a therapist might create hiding spaces in the playroom so they can play hide-and-seek with the client. This game is an avenue through which the therapist can explore issues such as separation anxiety, loss, or abandonment (Frankiel, 1993). Of course, it may also simply serve as a fun activity the therapist and client can bond over (Schaeffer & Cangelosi, 2016).
Some are simply meant to help children pay better attention to aspects of the world around them. This wide variety of techniques underscores how valuable play therapy can be to all sorts of children since there is a technique for just about every type of play a child might prefer.
Some of us like to find books that can take us on deep dives into a subject. If you are one of these people, here are five books that might interest you. From foundational texts on play therapy to more modern, updated collections, and whether you are a prospective play therapist or simply a curious parent, at least one of these books is for you. 2b1af7f3a8