Play Therapy

Play Therapy1The LifeVesting Group’s therapists and counselors offer a vast array of techniques and methods for meeting your needs. One of the areas in which we specialize is in play therapy.  The LifeVesting Group has a certified play therapist supervisor.

Why Play?

A growing number of mental health professionals believe play is as important to human happiness and well being as love and work. Even Aristotle and Plato reflected on the fundamental importance of play in our lives.

Play is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. It expands self-expression, self-knowledge, self-actualization and self-efficacy. Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates emotions, and boosts confidence. Play allows us to practices skills and roles needed for survival. Learning and development are fostered through play.

Why Play in Therapy?

Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on normal communicative and learning processes of children. Therapists strategically utilize play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings fail. Toys work like the child’s words  and play is the child’s language. Through play, therapists help children learn adaptive behaviors. A positive relationship develops between therapists and children This provides a corrective emotional experience necessary for healing. Play therapy can promote cognitive development, provide insight and help resolve inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking.

What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy differs from regular play. Therapists help children address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world. Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem solving skills, and learn new ways of relating. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and facilitates developmentally appropriate expression of thoughts and feelings.

“The systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.” (Association for Play Therapy)

How Does Play Therapy Work?

Children are referred to play therapy to resolve their problems. Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools, may misbehave or act out at home or school. Trained mental health practitioners use play therapy to assess and understand children’s play. Further, it is utilized to help children cope with difficult emotions and find solutions to problems. By confronting problems in the clinical play therapy setting, children find healthier solutions. Play therapy helps children change the way they think about, feel toward, and resolve concerns. The most troubling problems can be confronted and lasting resolutions can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered, and become lifelong strategies.

Who Benefits from Play Therapy?

Play therapy is the treatment of choice in mental health, school, agency, developmental, hospital, residential, and recreational settings, with clients, especially children, of all ages.

Play therapy is especially appropriate for children 3-12 yrs. old. However, teens and adults also benefit from play and recreational processes. Its use with adults within mental health, agency, and other healthcare contexts is increasing. Play therapy has been applied to infants as well.

Play therapy treatment plans are the primary intervention or used distinctively for multiple mental health conditions and concerns, such as anger management, grief, loss, family dissolution, and trauma. It is also used for modification of behavioral disorders. This includes anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), autism or pervasive developmental, academic and social developmental, physical and learning disabilities, and conduct disorders.

Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children whose problems are related to life stressor, such as divorce, death, relocation, hopsitalization, chronic illness, stressful experiences, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and natural disasters. Play therapy helps children:

  • Become responsible for behaviors
  • Develop creative solutions
  • Develop respect for others and self acceptance
  • Learn to experience and express emotion
  • Cultivate empathy for thoughts and feelings of others
  • Learn new social skills and relational skills with family
  • Develop self-efficacy and better assuredness about abilities

Play Therapy also Benefits Other Sectors!

The School System
School Counselors use play when counseling students. Play is a developmentally appropriate means to help children explore problems and find solutions. The use of play in counseling is referred to as play therapy, play counseling, or counseling with toys.

Managed Care Providers
Play therapists are licensed or certified mental health professionals. Insurers can be assured that clinical problems are assessed, treatment plans implemented, ethical codes and standards of practice observed, and necessary reports produced.

The Legal System
More children and families are entering family courts and criminal justice systems. Mental health and legal system providers make informed decisions when they both understand (a) the nature and value of play-based assessments, particularly the non-threatening manner by which objective facts are gathered without contamination and (b) the confidentiality issues involved with licensed mental health professionals participate in the legal process.

The LifeVesting Group and Play Therapy.

The LifeVesting Group offers trained and certified therapists that use play therapy to better the well-being of children across Lubbock. Contact The LifeVesting Group today to set up an appointment for your play therapy.