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Therapeutic use of play provides:

  • Direct observation of post traumatic play themes.

  • Predictable safety, which allows children to express, explore and resolve emotional experience and related feelings through symbolism.

  • A method of communication and expression suited to the developmental/ emotional needs of the child.

  • A relationship with an understanding, accepting adult, which enables the child to accept self.

  • A way for children to express emotional issues nonverbally, but concretely.

  • A way to play out (through symbolic play), that which cannot be talked out.

  • An enjoyable and natural setting that allows for intense, interpersonal interaction.

  • A chance for children to experience emotional successes.

  • A focus on treatment for emotional problems rather than an exclusive goal of behavior change.

  • A return of control to children over their environment and interactions.

  • A chance to practice activities to gain mastery over the environment and the self.


Toys and materials

In the play therapy room, toys and materials are selected to provide children with a variety of choices.


Toys are children's words, and play is their language. Therefore, toys and materials (the words) are specifically and carefully selected which facilitate expression of play activity (the language). The playroom is laid out in a specific and predictable way that enables the child to experience consistency and regularity. Children feel more secure in environments that are predictable. Play therapy provides safety; trust building, and corrective emotional relationship with an adult that promotes increased self-value.


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