Because your child can be a client of our mental health professionals, your interest in and familiarity with
play therapy is critical. Here are a few basic questions and answers that will strengthen your relationship
with our play therapists and your child:
Play is a child's natural form of communication just as talking is an adult's natural way of
communication. Children, even children who are quite talkative, express themselves more fully through
their play. Emotions are often difficult to understand for children and even more difficult to express. Play
provides a non-threatening way for children to express themselves.
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all of which make use of one or more of the
natural benefits of play. Play allows children a safe psychological distance from their problems and
allows them to express their true thoughts and feelings in ways best suited to their developmental level.
Play therapy allows trained play therapists to assess and understand children's play and to use it in
assisting the child in coping with difficult emotions and in finding solutions to their problems.
What is a Play Therapist?
A Play Therapist is a trained mental health professional who facilitates play so that the child can
systematically address and resolve his/her own problems. Play therapists work differently but all use the
benefits of play to psychologically help children. Some play therapists work more directly with the
problem of the child and some play therapists work with the child holistically for insight into the child's
personality and perceptions.
How do I choose a Play Therapist?
Because play therapists work differently with children, it is very important that you choose a play
therapist who is well-trained in play and in working with children. All mental health professionals have not
been trained in the most appropriate ways to work with children's emotional problems. Our center has
dedicated mental health professionals who were trained to work specifically with children.
If you are seeking mental health services for your child, please inquire about the mental health training of
your mental health professional, including his/her specific training with children and with play therapy.
Some questions that might be helpful include:
a. What is your training as a mental health professional?
b. What mental health degree have you earned?
c. Have you ever received formal education on working with children? To what extent?
d. Have you ever received formal education on play therapy? To what extent?
e. What process do you use to work with children?
Does your child need Play Therapy?
In the process of growing up, children often experience difficulty coping at some time (at home, at
school, with divorce and separation, with other children, etc.), or they exhibit behaviors which concern
their parents or teachers. Some children may need more help than others in some areas. Generally, if
you, your child's teacher, or pediatrician is concerned about your child's behavior or difficulty adjusting,
play therapy may be the recommended approach to help your child.
What ages are suitable for Play Therapy?
Main healing powers of Play are self-expression and self-disclosure, which are facilitated during the Play
Therapy to help a child identify his problems/conflicts, understand these conflicts, accept them and cope
with them. Play therapy can be used with clients of a wide age range: as early as 3-4 years old with no
limit of a maximum age where a play therapy can be applied. It DOES work with all the ages.
How do I prepare my child for Play Therapy?
You may tell your child that s/he "will be spending time with (therapist's name) in a special playroom
every week where there are toys to play with". If your child wants to know why s/he is going to the
playroom, you may say something like, "When things are hard for you at home (or at school), sometimes
it helps to have a special place to play."
It is important for the child to feel safe in play therapy. Therefore, our play therapists engage in the
concept of "confidentiality" which means that what children specifically say and do in play therapy will be
kept confidential (exceptions include allegations of abuse or harm to self and others). The play therapist
will involve the parent by sharing general themes, helpful responses, and progress in therapy with the
parent as well as meet with the parent on a regular basis. This confidentiality allows children to feel that
they can fully express themselves without being inhibited by the concern over their parents' reactions or
Does it make sense to combine family and Play Therapy?
In addition to Play Therapy our Center can also facilitate Family Therapy or other types of interventions on
a regular basis in which all or some family members may participate to work toward therapeutic
success for the child. Play Therapy, like other interventions, does not guarantee that all children can be
helped, but almost in all cases there will be some positive effect on you child. We will do our best to make
Play Therapy work and if it does not, we will find other types of treatments that are right for your child.
We will Revitalize Your Mind!