Children lack the cognitive maturity to benefit from talking through their problems. Nor do adult controlled activities give children the feeling of empowerment they can achieve with the voluntary activity of play. In a play therapy session, the child is the director and rule maker. They create a world they can master, practice social skills, overcome frightening feelings, and symbolically triumph over the upsets and traumas that have stolen their sense of well-being.
A trained play therapist understands the metaphorical content of a child's play, and strives to help the child express their needs and discover solutions in a safe, therapeutic environment. Play is the child's natural method of learning, developing, and expressing their feelings. Play therapy offers children the opportunity to use the power of their own natural creativity and imagination to heal and grow.
Play therapy takes place in a playroom, specially designed, decorated and furnished with the toys and equipment children need to use as tools for the dramatic scenes they direct with the therapist. Parents are important allies in the play therapy process and can do much to support and enhance the work their child does in the play therapy sessions. Therapists meet regularly with parents to learn what is happening in the child's life, to share important observations, and to give suggestions on how parents can support their child's therapy.