Play Therapy

What is it?

Most therapists who work with children use play therapy techniques.  Play is the language of children, rather than words.  When a child experiences trauma they often cannot talk about it, but they can express their feelings and fears in play.  All work with children includes some play.  The younger the child is, the more primarily play therapy is used.  Even older children, tweens, and teens can express themselves in play, rather than just in words.

Play therapy includes expressive therapies, such as drawing and painting.  It can utilize therapeutic games.  Play therapy employs puppets, a doll house, sand trays, action figures, dress up clothes, and imaginative play to explore what is going on in the child’s world.


What’s the difference between a Registered Play Therapist and a therapist who uses play? 

A Registered Play Therapist is a licensed counselor who has received extensive training in the use of play with children and families and has been credentialed by the Association for Play Therapy.  This includes a minimum of 150 hours of specific play therapy training with ongoing training requirements and graduate classes in diagnosis and treatment of child and adolescent psychopathology.  A Registered Play therapist has 500 hours of supervised practice using play therapy and 50 hours of supervision of the play therapy sessions.


Please take a few moments and check out Andrew.  His description of his day at school is a humorous look at why Play Therapists use play with children rather than just talk to them about their issues.

Association for Play Therapy