Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master. In play they conquer their fears and develop competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges.
Child-centered play invites children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.
Play is an essential ingredient in our development. In fact, we have specific motivational circuitry in our brains geared towards seeking play! It is a natural and fundamental source of learning within the cognitive, physical, emotional and social domains.
Play is also the vehicle that drives healthy and secure attachments with loving and consistent caregivers. When parents observe their children in play or join with them in child-centred play they get to see the world through their child’s eyes.
Play experiences with caregivers elicit so much joy and give children feelings of being loved, delighted in, and responded to. Caregivers who can have the opportunity to glimpse their child’s play communicate more effectively with their children and are given another setting to offer gentle, nurturing guidance.
Play has also been shown to help children adjust to the school setting and even to enhance children’s learning readiness, learning behaviours, and problem-solving skills.
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children (Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002; O’Connor & Schaefer, 1983).
The curative powers inherent in play are used in many ways. Therapists strategically utilize play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language and cognitive capabilities to express their thoughts and feelings (Gil, 1991).
In play therapy, toys and Expressive Arts are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language (Landreth, 2002).
How Does Play Therapy Work?
Play Therapy provides a safe and inviting environment for children and teens to express their feelings and find ways to create play and art that resembles the stressful experiences they are struggling with internally.
Play Therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist is trained to reflect the child’s inner world, model self-regulation and help children feel empowered so they can address and resolve their issues in an effective way.
Play allows children a safe psychological distance from their challenges and allows them to express their true thoughts and feelings about their experiences at a pace that is appropriate for their developmental level.
In the playroom there are a wide variety of toys, sand trays, and artistic materials available.
The attuned, responsive, and validating relationship that develops between therapist and child provides a restorative emotional experience and serves to release the natural healing resources that lie within the child.
Play Therapy allows children to attach meaning to confusing things as well as assists them in finding new coping strategies and creative solutions that work.
Play and art “turn on” the right brain (the feeling brain) and allow for rhythm and movement, a critical piece to healing trauma stored in the body.
Book a Free,
20 Minute Consultation
Whether you are considering accessing counselling services for the first time, or hoping to find a therapist who is new to you, we want to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.
That is why we offer a free, no-obligation, 20-minute phone or video consultation with the Calgary therapist of your choice.
Our Calgary Counsellors
All of our Calgary therapists hold a Master of Counselling degree from an accredited university and are members in good standing with either the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) or the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP).
The Safe Space
Our counselling spaces are designed to make you feel comfortable and safe. Upon entering a counselling room, you are welcome to choose whichever seat you would like. Feel free to put your feet up, drape a blanket over yourself, or even lie down.
You can expect to be greeted by our receptionist, invited to take a seat in our waiting area, and offered a beverage.