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Play therapy evolved as a means of meeting and responding to the therapeutic, emotional and mental health needs developed throughout childhood. It is extensively acknowledged among academics, therapists and counsellors as an effective and particularly suitable intervention in childhood brain development. This is particularly true where development is impacted, or has the potential for impact from, emotional, social or other external emotional or mental health developmental factors.
Where this is ,or has been, the case it may have become difficult for a child to find space and/or appropriate cognitive or mental and emotional tools to process development age appropriately. This can and most often does lead to imbalance and emotional or mental health issues in later life.
As adults we have developed complex systems of cognitive, mental, emotional, social or cultural communication and understanding. We utilise these tools to navigate our worlds on a daily basis. This can be confusing for children and difficult to teach or explain for responsible adults, who have simply learned to use the tools available to them.
These may no longer be the most appropriate tools for a child to navigate their way through the world. Play therapy helps children and adults alike understand what tools are and how to use them to maintain lifelong emotional and mental well being.
Play is the first language children use which enables them to make sense of the world and their place in it. Whilst play develops social and cultural understanding it allows for the expression of thought and emotions safely, in a non-
In this way, while play has been proven to develop language and literacy skills and concepts as it fosters flexible and divergent thinking, in some ways the language of play has become more therapeutically important,
Play provides the language and opportunity to understand real time emotional and mental health development. It also provides opportunities to meet, even resolve, real life issues.
The Language of Play
Whilst Scotland, it’s communities and children carry the increasing stresses and anxieties of a hectic,confusing world, will you wait on a list amidst the gathering crises when other countries have known for some time the solutions play therapists offer?
What Can Play Therapy Do?
Play led therapy has proven particularly effective in finding ways to communicate around trauma. Often the emotions and mental processing associated with traumatic events are difficult to communicate. This is true for adults, even more so for those struggling to develop through it, like those with complex developmental or neurological issues. Or children just trying to develop and grow as trauma happens to them.
Finding the language to communicate the impact of trauma can prove impactful in and of itself. The metaphor of play removes this additional stressor and allows for communication on a more abstract, less defined or directive manner, easing towards a more general balance around the sources of trauma.
Staying In The Metaphor