Play therapy is a way of allowing children to express their creations, thoughts, and behaviors in a safe environment. With professional support, children can succeed in overcoming their difficulties and troubles. It is a relatively new technique, however, so there are still a number of myths about play therapy that should be corrected for parents considering therapy for their children.
Myth No. 1: The “Play” in Play Therapy Is Just a Distraction
Many believe that the only reason children are invited to play during therapy sessions is so that they don’t realize they are in a therapy session. The truth is that the way children play and engage with the objects and people around them can indicate a great deal about their emotional states. In addition to allowing therapists to understand children more, play is also a way for children to grow and mature at their own rate in a safe environment.
Myth No. 2: “Fun” Therapy Isn’t Effective
There is a common conception that therapy is simply two people in a room discussing difficulties and hardship. Many think that therapy shouldn’t be fun—it should just be work! Luckily, play therapy can be just as rewarding as it is fun, promoting social skill development, increased empathy, creative problem-solving, and attachment formation, according to industry frontrunner Dr. Terry Kottman. Another play therapy expert Gary Landreth argues that these “fun” toys aren’t just toys, but can come in a variety of categories like family toys, aggressive toys, fantasy toys, scary toys, and nurturing toys.
Myth No. 3: Parents Can Simply Play With Children at Home Instead
It’s true that the “play” in play therapy is one of the most important elements, but it’s not the only element. Although children are always expressing themselves through play and fun regardless of their environment, the presence of a clinically experienced therapist is necessary for many children to make significant steps in the practice. Luckily, professionals can educate parents about therapeutic techniques and their functions that can be transferred to home play as well.
Despite its seemingly simple nature, play therapy can have profound and lasting effects. If you have questions about any myths surrounding play therapy or want to schedule an appointment for a professional evaluation, get in touch with Cross The Bridge Counseling today at (845) 342-5789.