... often children are able to express themselves through play in a manner they would otherwise not be able to do ...

Play Therapy

Children’s primary form of communication is through play. This is why it is imperative to incorporate play therapy into treatment with children. Often, children are able to express themselves through play in a manner they would otherwise not be able to do. They are able to access and resolve feelings at a deeper level and this enables the treatment to be more successful. For young children, this may be the only way to access their feelings and help them heal.

At Whitson Family Therapy, we have several skilled play therapists who have spent years of their professional careers working with children. Most of our offices have what is called a sand tray. This is a table designed for use as an expressive outlet for individuals to process feelings. We also have art tables in most of our offices. This allows the therapists to utilize art as a healing tool with their clients. Games can also be an effective play therapy technique. Allowing children to be involved in an activity such as a game can greatly reduce the pressure and anxiety they may feel being in therapy. Playing games as part of the treatment can also teach valuable skills, such as team work, patience, cooperation, and social skills. Depending on the issues presented by the client, the play therapist may use a variety of these techniques to help the child client work through and resolve the issues that brought them into therapy.

Issues/ diagnoses that may be appropriate for play therapy include (but is not limited to):

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • ADD/ ADHD 
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (depending on level of functioning)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder • Grief/ loss issues
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Tics, Tourette’s
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Attachment Disorder

Behaviors that may be appropriate for play therapy include (but is not limited to):

  • Impulsivity
  • Disorganization
  • Defiance
  • Nightmares
  • Indiscriminate affection
  • Difficulty displaying affection
  • Social awkwardness
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in appetite
  • Difficulty in school
  • Conflict at home or at school
  • Inattentiveness

Circumstances that may warrant a need for play therapy include (but is not limited to):

  • Changes in living situation
  • Conflict in home, with parents and/ or siblings
  • Experienced a traumatic event
  • Abuse
  • Difficulty dealing with adoption
  • New sibling
  • Stressors in family or home due to any variety of issues
  • Death of loved one
  • Divorce in family
  • Relocation

If you wonder if play therapy is right for your child, or if you have additional questions, please contact us for a free telephone consultation with a therapist.