Helping Children Express Their Feelings Through Play
Is your child having problems at school, at home, or out in the community?
Does he or she have difficulty understanding and expressing feelings?
Has your family experienced a divorce, separation, death in the family or other trauma which has impacted your child's life?
Are you concerned about your child's coping skills but feel that nothing you do seems to help?
Play therapy may help!
We all sometimes need help coping with feelings and emotions we donít understand. Adults can be encouraged to talk about how they feel, but children and adolescents, especially young children, simply donít know how to explain what they are feeling and thinking.
- Play is a childís natural form of communication - While playing, children often reveal their thoughts and wishes, as well as their unconscious worries, concerns and fears. In essence, toys become a childís words, particularly for young children. For older children, talking while playing age-appropriate games, engaging in artwork, etc. often serves as a comfortable way for them to express their thoughts and feelings in a non-threatening way. More about play therapy...
Play therapists have learned to interpret the meanings of the play of children and adolescents by observing how they play in a safe, quiet and consistent environment with carefully selected and appealing toys that encourage meaningful results. Over time, depending on the child, patterns and themes emerge. The play therapist, while maintaining confidentiality with child, confers with parents on a regular basis to bring out team-based results.
Moira Padfield is a psychotherapist who specializes in play therapy for children and adolescents from ages 3 to 14 years. She has more than 30 years working with children as a Montessori teacher, nurse, therapeutic support specialist and play therapist. She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of five. More about Moira...