Play Therapy

Typically used as a therapeutic treatment for children, play therapy is a method of meeting and responding to the mental health needs of young people in a language they understand – namely, play. Play therapy is seen an effective and suitable intervention in dealing with children’s brain development. It is considered to be one of the most beneficial ways to help children who are experiencing emotional or behavioral challenges. A therapist specializing in play therapy will create a safe and comfortable space where the child can play (typically in a non-directive way) with very few limits or rules. The therapist will observe the child at play. The goal is to help children learn to better express themselves and resolve their problems. Think this approach might be right for a child in your life? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s play therapy experts today.

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Meet the specialists

 

While working with children I utilize play therapy where they learn to manage their feelings and emotions as well as social skills. In 2016, I developed a play intervention program for children with autism and developmental disabilities.

— Samantha Levinson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bryn Mawr, PA

Children learn through play. By allowing them to playout their experiences in a safe, nurturing environment, children process and heal from traumatic experiences. Sandtray therapy (which is also used with teens and adults) allows children to make sense of their world through directive and non-directive means. Using the Nurtured Heart Approach during sessions also allows dysregulated children the space and control to help monitor and manage their own behaviors. Though not a registered play therapist, I have taken courses in graduate school and have seven years of continuing education and experience working primarily with children in the school setting.

— Tricia Norby, Counselor in Madison, WI
 

I use play therapy techniques to help youth learn self-trust, self-compassion, and process and heal from difficult life experiences. I love developing a relationship built on mutual respect and trust with my kiddo clients, and helping them learn that they are inherently strong and resilient.

— Eva Belzil, Marriage & Family Therapist in Fort Collins, CO

I love utilizing play therapy techniques in my work with individuals in couples. Depending on your level of interest and needs, we may draw, paint, play with clay, or utilize sand trays in session.

— Nic Sutherland, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR
 

GAMING THERAPY, also known as video game therapy, is a form of therapy that uses video games as a tool to address various mental health issues. It involves playing video games that are specifically designed to promote mental and emotional well-being and to help individuals overcome a range of issues.

— Dr. Tim Hill, Licensed Professional Counselor in Arlington, TX

I am skilled with the ability to help the most challenging of children with research-supported non-directive Play Therapy, in which the child takes the lead in the session healing at their needed pace, while I closely follow and examine his or her play. I believe that children know what they need to work on and that their play will take them to where they need to go for healing. I have successfully worked with children since 2001.

— Karen Poynor, LPC, NCC, RPT, Licensed Professional Counselor in Tucker, GA
 

Children learn through play. By allowing them to playout their experiences in a safe, nurturing environment, children process and heal from traumatic experiences. Sandtray therapy (which is also used with teens and adults) allows children to make sense of their world through directive and non-directive means. Using the Nurtured Heart Approach during sessions also allows dysregulated children the space and control to help monitor and manage their own behaviors. Though not a registered play therapist, I have taken courses in graduate school and have seven years of continuing education and experience working primarily with children in the school setting.

— Tricia Norby, Counselor in Madison, WI

Children learn through play. By allowing them to playout their experiences in a safe, nurturing environment, children process and heal from traumatic experiences. Sandtray therapy (which is also used with teens and adults) allows children to make sense of their world through directive and non-directive means. Using the Nurtured Heart Approach during sessions also allows dysregulated children the space and control to help monitor and manage their own behaviors. Though not a registered play therapist, I have taken courses in graduate school and have seven years of continuing education and experience working primarily with children in the school setting.

— Tricia Norby, Counselor in Madison, WI
 

I am a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S) with extensive experience and training in providing play therapy and supervising play therapists. I attended the University of North Texas for graduate school where I was able to learn play therapy from the true experts. I have been providing play therapy since 2012.

— Leslie Boutte, Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, TX

Children learn through play. By allowing them to playout their experiences in a safe, nurturing environment, children process and heal from traumatic experiences. Sandtray therapy (which is also used with teens and adults) allows children to make sense of their world through directive and non-directive means. Using the Nurtured Heart Approach during sessions also allows dysregulated children the space and control to help monitor and manage their own behaviors. Though not a registered play therapist, I have taken courses in graduate school and have seven years of continuing education and experience working primarily with children in the school setting.

— Tricia Norby, Counselor in Madison, WI
 

Play Therapy has been researched as the most effective modality for treating children. Children communicate through play, and in child-centered Play Therapy the therapist enters into the child's world, responding with validation and reflection to provide relief from the symptoms which brought the child to therapy. The therapist then models responding in a regulated way to the child's play, so that the child can acquire tools to support themselves in regulating their own emotions.

— Chana Halberg, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Boulder, CO

Children learn through play. By allowing them to playout their experiences in a safe, nurturing environment, children process and heal from traumatic experiences. Sandtray therapy (which is also used with teens and adults) allows children to make sense of their world through directive and non-directive means. Using the Nurtured Heart Approach during sessions also allows dysregulated children the space and control to help monitor and manage their own behaviors. Though not a registered play therapist, I have taken courses in graduate school and have seven years of continuing education and experience working primarily with children in the school setting.

— Tricia Norby, Counselor in Madison, WI
 

I use play therapy techniques to help youth learn self-trust, self-compassion, and process and heal from difficult life experiences. I love developing a relationship built on mutual respect and trust with my kiddo clients, and helping them learn that they are inherently strong and resilient.

— Eva Belzil, Marriage & Family Therapist in Fort Collins, CO

Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. Play therapy strategically helps children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings. Toys are like the child's words and play is the child's language. Through play, we can help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are emotional or social skills deficits.

— Claudia Mattox, Licensed Professional Counselor in Magnolia, TX
 

For my younger clients, I rely heavily on play therapy. I find that play allows children to communicate with the world around them, manage their emotions, build relationships, and transform into healthy adults – using a language they fundamentally understand.

— Samantha Serbin, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Austin, TX

Many therapists share they use play therapy in their practice with children, but have not taken further training on its use in therapy. I am a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, which means I completed 3 years and 3000 hours of practice, clinical supervision, consistent continued education courses, and significant focus in at least two play therapy evidence based practices.

— Kimberly Koljat, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Cleveland, OH
 

As a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor who works via telehealth, I love being able to combine my Child-Centered approach with Digital Play Therapy. Using tools like the Virtual Sandtray App, whiteboards, Minecraft, Roblox, and digital versions of traditional board games I can bring the play therapy office to my clients, allowing them the power to speak in the language of play.

— Laura Morlok, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Frederick, MD