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:
- Learning difficulties
- Family breakdown
- Domestic violence
"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.