"As astronauts and space travelers children puzzle over the future; as dinosaurs and princesses they unearth the past. As weather reporters and restaurant workers they make sense of reality; as monsters and gremlins they make sense of the unreal."
Contemporary American early childhood educator
Ever sit around watching a group of children at recess? Are the sitting around over cups of coffee discussing thier concerns and thoughts on life? No! They are running, jumping, climbing, pretending... they are PLAYING. Play is the way that children engage and process their world. Play is the work of children and it is how they grow and learn. It is a critical part of developing the tools needed to navigate the adult world. Thus is seems only logical that in theraputic work children should be treated not as a little adults sitting on a coach, but as children, capable or able to communicate and express themselves through thier natural language of play.
Play therapy or theraputic of play involves a range of techniques and approaches, all centered around the basic concept that play is natural langage of children. More than mere playing, the practice of play therapy involves the intentional use of both structure and unstructured activities, such as games or imaginative acting, to allow the child to express and work through their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. In doing so the therapist, and family members, can enter the child's world and see the child's world. Additionally according the American Play Therapy Association, "Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development." (http://www.a4pt.org/?page=PTMakesADifference). In the play based therapy process the therapist is able to assist the child in learning about feeling and thoughts and how to understand and change behaviors.
At Peachtree Art Therapy and Counselling, play is a centeral theme to the work we do with children and families in that is is our belief that meeting children where they are and engaging them in a child center manner is the most effective way to help promote healing and change.