Te manawa whanaungatanga mō ngā tamariki katoa
The heart of relationship for every child

Play Therapy

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is a form of child counselling for children from ages 3 through 11-12. Because the child's world of play is their natural way of communicating, the play therapist enters their play world to communicate with them and to help them understand and resolve any psychological and psychosocial challenges e.g. trauma, separation of parents, loss of a loved one, chronic illness, etc. In play therapy, children are able to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided and self-healing process. Children will be helped towards healthier and better social integration, growth and development.

Evidenced based practice 

Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) is one of the most thoroughly researched theoretical models of play therapy in the world and is based on the solid theoretical Person-Centered counselling model of Carl Rogers. The United States Government's  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has designated CCPT as being on their National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices.

play therapy

What are the benefits of Child-Centered Play Therapy?

In CCPT, a relationship of trust is developed between child and play therapist, making the playroom a place of safety. The benefits of play therapy for children include:

  • A safe place in which to express their thoughts and feelings.
  • Facilitates the development of self esteem, problem-solving and coping skills. 
  • Supports emotional healing and growth.
  • Assists children in making decisions and in accepting responsibility for these.
  • Develops a child's ability to explore and practise social skills.
  • Fosters a child’s ability to make friends and to understand the world he or she lives in.
  • Allows children to discover their natural, inner resources for healing. 
  • Encourages children to be confident and focused.
  • Fosters imagination and creativity.
  • A safe environment for children for whom talking is difficult.

“In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language.” – Dr. Garry Landreth

Play Therapy Services

Children from as young as 3 years old are able to be in a play therapy process and weekly sessions in a special playroom are recommended.

Parents and caregivers have an important role to play in their child’s therapeutic process and regular review meetings are scheduled to ensure they are updated with their child’s overall progress. Support in parenting and in strengthening their relationship is also provided in these review sessions.

A separate therapy process may be provided for both parent and child in the playroom to help strengthen their relationship together. Play therapy with siblings and small groups of children (2-3), may also be offered in order to help with their emotional and social development.

Trainers in the ChildPlayWorks team regularly work with children in a playroom setting. Graduates and advanced trainees from our Play Therapy Training Programme are available for play therapy services throughout New Zealand.

Please get in touch with us for more information.

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