You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation
Facilitating Children’s Psychological Health Through Play
(Excerpt by Garry Landreth & Sue Bratton from the APTA Web site)
Play is to the child what verbalization is to the adult. It is a medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, describing experiences, disclosing wishes, and self-fulfillment. Because children’s language development lags behind their cognitive development, they communicate their awareness of what is happening in their world through their play. In play therapy, toys are viewed as the child’s words and play as the child’s language.
Play therapy, then, is to children what counselling or psychotherapy is to adults. In play therapy, the symbolic function of play is what is so important, providing children with a means of expressing their inner world. Emotionally significant experiences can be expressed more comfortably and safely through the symbolic representation the toys provide.
Play therapy is based on developmental principles, and thus provides through play, a developmentally appropriate means of expression and communication for children. The use of toys enables children to transfer anxieties, fears, fantasies, and guilt to objects rather than people. In the process, children are safe from their own feelings and reactions because play enables children to distance themselves from traumatic events and experiences.
Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain
– CARL JUNG
Sandplay Therapy was established in the late 1950s. Sandplay is a therapeutic approach for adults and children based on Jungian analytical knowledge. Through spontaneous imaginative play in trays of wet or dry sand, clients sculpt sand and position miniature figurines and objects to create three dimensional scenes that express and bridge communication between their inner and outer worlds.
When psychological trauma has occurred or typical development has been interrupted or impeded, a sandplay process can encourage an increase in personal awareness and psychological healing. Using symbols and imagery, Sandplay Therapy assists clients in the expression of their issues and search for understanding. This process works on many levels of client’s understanding, helping clients to access their inner potential and resources for healing and lasting change.
The formal use of animals in therapy began in 1953. Animal-assisted therapy recognizes that pets offer a form of comfort that can ease therapeutic anxiety and tensions. Clients who enjoy pets often find that holding and petting an animal gives them a physical form of comfort, particularly when processing difficult issues, that has the ability to soothe and promote warmth. Their presence in sessions tend to have a calming effect, lending to some form of comfort and stability. These aspects are designed to improve clients’ overall functioning.
Animal-assisted therapy also maintains educational and motivational properties. Animals can be used as a teaching tool for compassion, consistency, firmness, love, boundaries, limit-setting, problem-solving, etc. The relationship between client and animal can act as a means for bringing forth awareness of relationship dynamics and personal behaviour in interaction with others. These can be worked out directly and safely with pets in therapy which can extend to increased confidence in interactions with others in clients’ environment.
- What is Play Therapy? VIDEO
- How Does Play Therapy Work?
- Alberta Play Therapy Association (APTA)
- Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy (CACPT)
- Play Therapy International
- Canadian Association for Sandplay Therapy (CAST)
- Sandplay Therapists of America (STA)
- International Society for Sandplay Therapy (ISST)
- International Association for Analytic Psychology (IAAP)