ANDREA FLOWERS, MS, NCC, LPC-MHSP
Counselor/ Play Therapist
Children feel love, hope, and joy. They also experience sadness, fear, guilt, and anger. Many times, children do not possess the verbal ability to express what they think or feel in words and instead communicate through play. Toys become words, play becomes language. Play allows the child to learn, grow, and adjust to difficulties.
Children’s natural language is behavior: Play, biting, drawing, kicking, yelling, hugging, holding, eye rolling, slamming doors, etc. They communicate via what they do or do not do, more so than what they say. Although children may be very verbal, they do not have the verbal capacity to only rely on words to communicate.
Developmentally, children have not yet acquired the ability to think abstractly. Play allows for symbolic uses of toys—a way for them to bridge the differences from concrete to the abstract.
Children play for mastery, for fun, and/or to work through experiences and adjustment difficulties.
The play room creates a unique atmosphere—matching the world to the child’s view which is a safe way to express difficult things and learn more useful behaviors.
What Children Learn in Play Therapy
To identify their feelings and learn that all feelings are acceptable
To accept themselves as a whole
To identify their actions and learn that not all actions are acceptable
To assume responsibility for self
To be creative and resourceful in confronting problems
To make choices and to be responsible for their choices