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Play Therapy

“Every child will tell you their life story, but only sometimes do they actually use words.”

- Dean Sutton

Improving a Child’s Mental Health

The health of a child can be the most important thing to a parent. Every stage of development brings new challenges which can be difficult for children to maneuver on their own. Children may develop mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders which can adversely impact the health and well being of the child, family, and community. By treating a child’s mental health problems as soon as possible, you can help reduce concerns in the home, school and community environments, while also improving a child’s self-esteem and the ability to form healthy friendships.

Why Play Therapy?

Children and adults have differing abilities when it comes to communicating their thoughts and feelings. Where adults often use words to communicate their thoughts and feelings, children communicate through play. According to Dr. Garry Landreth, founder of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas, play relieves stress, enhances connections in relationships, stimulates creative expression and exploration, and helps us regulate our emotions. Dr. Landreth further explains that in play therapy the toys in the playroom are the child’s words and the play itself is the child’s language.


How does Play Therapy work?

There are different approaches to play therapy ranging from child centered play therapy, which is non-directive, to the other end of the spectrum in which a therapist uses very directive interventions with specific goals in session. Regardless of the approach, all play therapy helps the therapist and child connect through play-based activities and experience. 


Some play activities include: 

  • puppets, stuffed animals, dolls, action figures

  • sand play

  • creative visualization

  • storytelling

  • role-playing

  • arts and crafts

  • blocks and construction toys

  • musical activity


Play therapy may look like an ordinary playtime; however, play therapy can be much more than that. A trained therapist uses playtime to observe and gain an understanding of a child’s problems. The therapist then helps the child explore their emotions and cope with unresolved trauma. Through play, children can learn new coping skills and how to engage in appropriate behaviors.


Play Therapy Benefits

Some potential benefits of play therapy include:

  • taking responsibility for behaviors

  • developing coping skills and creative problem-solving skills

  • self-respect

  • empathy and respect for others

  • learning to fully experience and express feelings

  • stronger social skills

  • stronger family relationships



Although play therapy is primarily used for children, research suggests that play therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem, and works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is involved in the treatment process.


If you have questions about the process or would like information about scheduling, please call

715-514-0493 or email our office at  We look forward to working with you!

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