Parents often ask me about my practice of play therapy. They ask "Does it really work, Jodi?" A great many parents are miffed because they want to know "how can playing be therapy?" This is a very good question and one I would like to answer for all of the parents who are struggling with whether or not to approach the idea of play therapy for their child.
It does work.
Children aren't cognitively or verbally able to process everything that happens to them (especially events that are traumatic). They also do not have the ability to discuss what is "bothering them" with a therapist, like a "grown up" would. Children lack the much needed insight to have a discussion about their emotions, fears, and memories, with a therapist.
Enter Play Therapy.
Play therapy works and here's how: It gives the child the chance to re-experience a bothersome/traumatic event (whether it is something happening daily, or just once, it doesn't matter) in an environment that is safe, under control, and therapeutic. When this happens, the child's brain is processing the event in a way he/she can cope with it, and then healing can begin. While the child is re-experiencing the trauma, the loss, the grief, the emotions, etc. through his/her play, it gives the power and control back to the child. Play therapy is powerful, and amazing. I am always honored to be a part of a child's healing journey. I am in awe of the child's own inner ability to heal through play.
It is truly a gift to play with children every single day, and watch them change, grow, and overcome!