Play Therapy (Not Currently Available)

Young children (4-10 years) do not have the ability to discuss their emotional difficulties in depth or at length, and for that reason play is used as an indirect means of treating children. Children, through play, unconsciously work through their feelings and concerns. For example, puppets may be used to represent family members and the child’s concern may be acted out in a ‘fictional’ story. An excellent and very readable case history of play therapy is Dibs: In search of Self by VirginaAxeline.

The premises underlying the use of symbolic play in therapy are that; (a) play is the most natural and spontaneous form of expression among children, (b) children willingly use play as a tool toward developmental maturation, (c) that in the case of social, emotional, & behavioural difficulties, play can be used as a reparative technique by children in an unconscious manner (Carroll, 2002). Play therapy facilitates cognitive restructuring by allowing children, via symbolic activity, to attend to intra/interpersonal issues at a perceived distance (C. E. Schaffer and Drewes, 2009). In this way, awareness may be directed towards the problem in a manner which does not increase anxiety (Landreth, 2002). The use of play as therapy is, consequently, a respectful and non-invasive means of intervening to overcome developmental delays or resolve emotional disturbance (Josefi & Ryan, 2004).