Play Therapy Helps Children to Express Themselves

2 min read

Great Lakes Psychology Group offers counseling to children and their parents for a wide variety of emotional, behavioral, and academic problems. And while children can and do benefit from counseling, they are not equipped in the same way as adults to talk, reflect, and problem-solve as they often lack the insight, awareness, and vocabularies necessary to take full advantage of psychotherapy. Therapists have at their disposal a host of methods developed to meet the unique counseling needs of children, perhaps foremost among them being play therapy.

GLPG has recently expanded its play therapy services at its Clinton Township office with the addition of Kimberly Scott, LLP. Kimberly is a Limited License Psychologist who comes to the field of counseling after a rewarding 20-year career in the field of education. Kimberly enjoys working with clients and families of all ages, but one of her specialties is working with children and young teens. In doing so, Kimberly often finds play therapy to be a very helpful tool.

“Play therapy is helpful for many reasons,” says Kimberly. “Part of becoming a healthy adult is learning to talk things through. In the right setting, healthy adults can talk about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and make connections between the three. Children are not fully able to do this as they lack the awareness, insight, and vocabulary of adults. Play therapy provides a venue for children to express their feelings, conflicts, and struggles through play, something children are naturally good at.”

Play therapy is “play” with a purpose. Through therapeutic play therapists can observe and learn how a child is thinking, feeling, and interacting with his or her environment. These observations are then used to tailor the play in such a manner as to help the child start to identify and verbalize these things for him or herself. This self-awareness is an important first step in the therapeutic process. Children can then begin to discuss what triggers those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and form healthy ways to respond to them. Therapists working with children can identify incorrect or unhelpful thinking patterns the child may be using and help the child and their parent(s) form new and more accurate and helpful ways of thinking. And, this is all done through play.

Play therapy is used because it reaches all kinds of children despite their differences. The therapist creates a comfortable atmosphere where the child can listen and ask questions, observe and create, and move about in a relaxed way. As the therapist builds rapport with the child, he or she can tailor the play to meet the needs and preferences of the child. Often the child does not even realize they are doing anything but playing. However, while playing alongside the child the therapist is helping the child become aware of his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalize them, make connections about how they sense those thoughts and feelings in their body and formulate healthy ways to express, cope with, or change them.

Play therapy is a very helpful tool in working with children and young teens. It provides a wealth of information for the therapist and helps put children at ease. It reaches all kinds of children, helping the therapist and the families complete the goals that brought them to counseling.

Kimberly Scott practices at our Clinton Township office and is currently accepting new clients. She loves helping children learn and grow and would be honored to work with your family.