Therapeutic play, is a well-established discipline based upon a number of psychological theories. Research, both qualitative and quantitative shows that it is highly effective in many cases. Recent research by PTUK, Play Therapy UK, suggests that 71% of the children referred to play therapy will show a positive change. Therapeutic Play improves the emotional well-being of the child. Through the therapeutic use of play, children are given the opportunity to express their feelings naturally, and safely, thus enabling the healing process to begin.
How does therapeutic play work?
"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' their feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, an individual 'talks out' their difficulties." Virginia Axline
A safe environment is created which allows the child to play with as few limits as possible but as many as necessary (for safety). This allows healing to occur on many levels following our natural inner trend towards health. Play and creativity operate on impulses from outside our awareness - the unconscious.
Children who have experienced considerable change in their lives or who have survived traumatic events need to express and understand their feelings.
"Each child is unique. A perceptive and intuitive approach is necessary to understand and facilitate the therapeutic process". Susan Garofolo.
A variety of techniques are used according to the child's wishes, e.g. storytelling, music, dance, movement, puppets, creative visualisation, drama, painting, sandtray, clay.