In sessions with children and adolescents, Stacy utilizes the therapeutic power of expressive arts in a play therapy context. Techniques specific to visual art, drama, sand tray, creative writing, puppetry, music and storytelling are ideal mediums through which children and adolescents express and heal themselves through the process of play therapy.
Child psychologists throughout the world agree that play is as important for children’s happiness and well-being as being loved, eating and sleeping.
WHAT IS PLAY?
Play for children is engagement in enjoyable activities that expands knowledge and self-awareness about themselves and others in their world while relieving uncomfortable feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, anger, etc. By engaging in play, children work out difficult feelings, interpersonal relationships, experiences and situations.
WHAT IS CHILD PLAY THERAPY?
Play therapy is the art of engaging a child in the arena of play where the child feels most comfortable and familiar. There children can master and grow beyond overwhelming situations and experiences. Play allows the child to put their internal world of emotions and cognitions into a “symbolic” arena where they can speak their mind and express negative feelings in a safe and permissible environment. Play therapists believes “a child can use the media of play to work out problems or they will act out their problems.” Play therapy often unconsciously plays out difficult situation using metaphorical stories and play. My approach is an integrated approach using both directive and indirect means of accessing the child’s thinking, feelings and behavior.
WHAT TOOLS ARE USED IN PLAY THERAPY?
Play therapy tools are as vast and numerous as there are children. In general, they fall into several different categories:
ARTS & CRAFTS: Examples of the various forms of art media provided for play therapy:
- Clay, Play-doh, Oogle clay along with pounding, rolling, punching equipment and various cookie cutter instruments
- Crayons, colored pencils, paint, finger paint, chalk/chalkboard, markers, used on paper, to draw figures, pictures and array of colors that expresses unspoken feeling, thoughts, behaviors and situations or experiences. Collages made using drawings, letters, words and pictures, etc.
- Crafts made using beads of all shapes and sizes and colors, multicolored cotton balls, pipe cleaners, etc
- Flannel Board – flannel animals, people, environments
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: drums, rhythm sticks, maracas, triangles, melody harp, guitar, dulcitar
ROLE PLAYING TOYS
- Dolls & Play Homes
- Doll Houses – furnished with furniture for various rooms, people, etc
BLOCKS: various sizes and shapes
SAND TRAY THERAPY: Miniature figures such as typical family members, professionals, soldiers, pirates, etc various types of motor vehicles – provided for creating scenes in sandbox (particularly useful when working pubescent children, adolescents and some adults).
BOOKS: reading books, coloring books, work books
HAND AND FINGER PUPPETS: different animals and people in families, professions, etc.
Play Therapy Works!
This video introduces and promotes the value of play, play therapy, credentialed play therapists, and membership in the Association for Play Therapy.