Play Therapy in Palm Beach, Florida
The Doctors at Ricci Psychology of the Palm Beaches offer Play Therapy for children.
Do you think your child may benefit from Play Therapy?
Along with in-person therapy, we also offer
Second Opinions, Forensic Services, Home Visits, and Web/Skype Sessions
Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. Play therapy employs a child's natural means of expression, to help them communicate their feelings more easily through toys instead of words. This therapeutic method is best used with children ages 2-12. Because children’s world of play is their natural way of communicating, the play therapist must enter into their play world to best communicate with them and help them understand and resolve any emotional and/or psychosocial challenges e.g., trauma, separation of parents, loss of a loved one, chronic illness, behavioral struggles etc.
Imagine if you felt really angry but when asked to describe how you feel, you were asked not to use the word anger. For children, toys and creative play are their words, and not giving them an opportunity to play out their feelings can feel like being asked to express how you feel but having your vocabulary restricted. In play therapy, children are able to express their feelings and experiences through a self-guided, familiar and natural healing process.
In his book, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship (3rd ed.), Landreth (2012) defined child-centered play therapy: As a dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child (or person of any age) and a therapist trained in play therapy procedures who provides selected play materials and facilitates the development of a safe relationship for the child (or person of any age) to fully express and explore self (feelings, thoughts, experiences, and behaviors) through play, the child's natural medium of communication, for optimal growth and development.
In Play Therapy, a relationship of trust is developed between child and play therapist, making the therapy room a place of safety. A few of the most significant benefits of play therapy for children include, the provision of a safe place in which to express their thoughts and feelings, development of self-esteem, problem-solving and coping skills, support for emotional healing and growth, development of their ability to explore and practice social skills, and encouragement in the areas of confidence, imagination and creativity.
Parenting & Play
Play is something done without preconceived rules and limiting emotional boundaries. It is fun and creative, often leading to unhindered self-expression. It engages the child in experiencing his/her world. Play provides children with an opportunity to express experiences as well as feelings about themselves and their environment.
A child’s most native language is play. We often learn more about their motivations, thoughts, struggles, and feelings when we watch children play than when we talk with them or ask questions. If we stop to play with the children, we are given an opportunity to build a strong attachment and bond.
Play offers children the opportunity to explore and thus learn and test their ideas about the world. Children play to understand how things work, master new physical skills, develop new mental skills, and learn social skills by following directions, cooperating, and taking turns. Through role-playing “playing pretend”, children can build emotional skills and begin to understand relationships and communication skills in a whole new way.
Science and research agree that play promotes healthy development in young children. The presence of humor and playfulness in one’s life is often linked to positive mental health, creativity, intellectual growth, problem-solving skills, and even increased productivity. Although we sometimes see play as unimportant or insignificant, it is one of the strongest supports for healthy adjustments and increased self-esteem.