Play therapy training is a therapeutic approach to play

Play therapy training was initially developed during the 20th century and continues to be used today amongst a variety of treatment methods that applies therapeutic approaches to play. Although everyone can benefit from this type of therapy, this theoretical based approach is used primarily to help children ages 3 through 12 years old; prevent, address and resolve conflict in a naturalistic, safe and supportive setting.

Play therapy differs from typical play sessions in that therapists are trained to use the power of play to support children to express themselves through toys when they may not have the verbal language to share what is troubling them. Children begin to find a deeper understanding, learn how to modify their behavior, problem solve, communicate, cope with difficult emotions, change the way they think and feel and resolve conflict in a healthy, positive, and productive way.

This type of therapy has been utilized as a treatment choice for multiple mental health conditions and concerns as well as behavioral disorders and life stressors (i.e., divorce, abuse, death, etc.). Play therapy  training sessions are implemented in settings such as; hospitals, residential, school, developmental, agencies, mental health and recreational facilities. Research suggests that play therapy is highly effective for children experiencing emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges and that an average of 20 sessions is needed to resolve most conflicts. Average length of sessions range from 30-50 minutes per week.

Core values of play therapy include

  • Relationship based sessions
  • Advances psychosocial development and mental health
  • Honors the child’s unique developmental level
  • Provides opportunities for children to naturally express themselves, both positively and negatively
  • Provides safe psychological distance from problems and concerns

Link to the APT website for more information.