What is a Play Therapist?

A play therapist is a qualified professional who works with children suffering from a range of emotional difficulties and complex life experiences, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Learning difficulties
  • ADHD
  • Abuse
  • Grief
  • Family breakdown
  • Domestic violence
  • Trauma
"Most play therapists, myself included, come into this role via a degree and a work background in childcare, and then go on to focus on therapeutic support by gaining their Masters in Play Therapy."

A play therapist generally works with children on a one-to-one basis, in a non-directive format, but I’m also qualified in filial therapy, enabling me to support children in group work, alongside their parents, carers or other family members.

What’s the role of a play therapist?

With play therapy sessions being completely child-led, you may wonder what role the therapist plays during the sessions.

My role is to act as a facilitator and, in some ways, an interpreter, helping the child in question to:

  • Increase understanding of their emotions and experiences
  • Decrease internal struggle
  • Increase resiliency
  • Improve emotional literacy

Play therapists work closely with the child's parents/carers throughout the play therapy treatment schedule, and can occasionally undertake parent-child relationship interventions if deemed necessary and beneficial to the child.

The play therapist’s knowledge

With a strong background in childcare, I have a natural affinity to children and plenty of experience in offering support and guidance. However, the role of play therapist requires an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a wide range of practices and theories, specifically:

  • Child development
  • Developmental psycho-pathology, including attachment theory
  • Ecological, systems and social constructionist theories of society
  • Child-centred play therapy
  • Integrative play therapy methods
  • The functions of play
  • Working with parents and carers
  • Relevant legislation and policy
  • Anti-discriminatory practice
  • Contemporary research and practice

This broad knowledge base and ability to draw on the most appropriate methods during treatment sessions is what being a play therapist is all about – and it’s a genuine pleasure to see the positive outcomes that play can bring to children in distress or a state of confusion.

If you’d like more information on what play therapy is and how it can help, please feel free to browse the Time2Play website, or give me a call on 0330 900 0080.

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