Play is the natural language of children. When they are given an environment that is filled with the things of childhood, namely toys, their anxiety and resistance to change decreases and their openness to learning new skills and/or practicing new coping increases as their overall sense of mastery is encouraged. The mediums of sand, art, clay, toys, and other playful equipment are the tools of the play therapist’s trade and you will see these in every room of Nurture House.
“You can learn more about a person in one hour of play than in a year of conversation.” – Plato
Play based assessment allows for clinicians to see how the child copes with new situations, how they perceive their families, their problems and the world at large. New skill sets-are all more likely to be rehearsed through the play-based activities and can be supported by the playful engagement of the parent.
Skill sets that can be enhanced by play therapy include:
- Attachment capacities
- Emotional regulation
- Pro-social skills
- Positive Coping skills
- Cognitive Restructuring/Positive Self-Talk
- Boss Back Skills for Anxiety Management
- Anger and Stress Management Skills
Play and expressive therapies can be used to resolve trauma, build coherent narrative, teach and practice new skills, enhance emotional regulation, decrease anxiety and enhance attachments.
Attempts to confront the traumatic events in a child’s life through strictly verbal processing can leave layers of trauma experience untouched and festering. Play therapy combines kinesthetic involvement with the story of what happened to integrate the thoughts, feelings and somatic reactions with the verbal narrative to leach the emotional toxicity out of the event so that it can become part of the child’s history without being overwhelming every time it is remembered.
Our bedrock belief
Even when integrating treatment approaches such as Trauma Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, or Exposure/Response Prevention work, we deliver all of these through the developmentally sensitive modalities of play and expressive therapies.