Play therapy

Play therapy is a model that reflects a dynamic and interpersonal relationship between a child and the therapist. It is based on the idea that in order to maximise sensitivity to and respect for children, we should allow them a means to express themselves in a language that is familiar to them. Play therapy is sensitive to the culture of childhood. It is a powerful and effective way for a therapist to reach the internal, creative and non-verbal capacities of a child in order to connect and work therapeutically with them. There is substantial and growing evidence for the efficacy of play therapy.

Children can play out, literally and/or metaphorically, their inner and real life experiences in a way that builds, self-awareness, insight and capacity. Play therapy allows children to express, regulate, communicate, practice and master new skills, cope with symptoms of stress and trauma, address emotional problems and restore a sense of well being. 

There are different approaches in play therapy. During non-directive play therapy,the therapist does not lead, guide or shape the child’s expression or behaviour, hurry the therapeutic process or set limits until required. In directive play therapy, the therapist may select, with purpose and intention, specific toys or play materials, with the intention of achieving certain objectives.

Play therapy may be used to assist children presenting with a range of issues including behavioural difficulties, psychosocial problems, physical and
learning disabilities, anxiety, abuse, domestic violence, depression, grief and loss and post traumatic stress.


Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts and souls meet

Virginia Axline