Teaching children to play is not, generally, something parents commonly consider doing as part of a parenting design. In fact, it is an unfortunate statistics that many parents simply ignore their children while the children or playing or simply oversee the playtime without being involved. In recent psychological research, it has been found that expressions and interactions involved in child play time may actually be a source of therapy. From this, social workers and child therapists are turning to a new advancement in treating behavioral and psychological disorders in children known as childhood Play Therapy.
Play Therapy, unlike traditional children playing, involves a structural play session within a well established play environment. In the treatment of disorders ranging from autism to depression, child psychologists and therapist are using Play Therapy to engage children in traditional communication and through the use of toys the child would commonly engage in using while at home. While historically Play Therapy has been successful in treating children in grade school, it is now becoming increasingly popular in treating teenagers and young adults, especially those who may show tendency toward isolation while playing video games.
It is through Play Therapy that child psychologists and therapists are better equipped to engage a child while in a setting which is somewhat familiar to the child’s home surroundings. Through a 30 minute session of Play Therapy, child therapists develop communication, trust and establish discussions with children while monitoring behavioral activity. In the world of video games, when using Play Therapy in adolescents, the therapist can establish a program in which the child is taught to create boundaries with individuals and learn empathy and respect while establishing the child’s own identity and self actualization. With video game technology, Play Therapy is successful is teaching these valuable life lessons whether playing a video game as a team or in competition with one another.
While Play Therapy has been successful for many years, in young children, it is the advancement of Play Therapy into adolescences and early adulthood, which is giving new rise to the interest in play exercises with children. As parents caring for children with behavioral disorders or mood disorders, consider Play Therapy, using toys the child or adolescent is most familiar with, to engage the child in conversation, communication and discussions. In doing so, a parent can facilitate Play Therapy in the home.
For more information regarding Play Therapy, visit www.a4pt.org.