Play Therapy

Association for Play Therapy

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy was initially developed at the turn of the 20th century.
Today play therapy refers to a large number of developmentally appropriate treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist strategically utilizes play to help children express and resolve deep feelings and inner conflicts, gain insight, develop problem-solving skills, resolve dysfunctional thinking patterns, and learn a variety of ways to relate to others. In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language (Landreth, 2002).

See how Play Therapy works:

Play therapy is implemented as a treatment of choice in mental health, school, agency, developmental, hospital, residential, and recreational settings, with clients of all ages (Carmichael, 2006; Reddy, Files-Hall & Schaefer, 2005).

How Will Play Therapy Benefit My Child?

Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools, and they misbehave, or may act out at home, with friends, and at school (Landreth, 2002). Play therapy allows trained mental health practitioners who specialize in play therapy, to assess and understand children’s play. By confronting problems in the clinical play therapy setting, children find healthier solutions. Play therapy allows children to change the way they think about, feel toward, and resolve their concerns (Kaugars & Russ, 2001). Even the most troubling problems can be confronted in play therapy and lasting resolutions can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered and adapted into lifelong strategies (Russ, 2004). Benefits of play therapy extend to countless other situations; including but not to limited to, autism, developmental delays, adoption, grief, ADHD, anxiety, selective mutism, depression, and adjustment to divorce.

What is a Registered Play Therapist?

The practice of play therapy requires extensive and advanced specialized training, education, experience, and supervision. This greater depth of knowledge and skill distinguishes the Registered Play Therapist (RPT) from those using therapeutic play skills. A Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S) is a licensed (or certified) mental health professional that has earned a Master’s or Doctorate degree in a mental health field with considerable general clinical experience and supervision. The Registered Play Therapist (RPT) or Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor (RPT-S) credentials are conferred by the Association for Play Therapy (APT).