What is Play Therapy?
Play is the natural form of communication for children. Just as adults might sit and talk with someone about their emotions and/or problems, children communicate through their play. Play is their language and toys are their words. Play therapists are trained to understand what children are communicating through their play by looking at the metaphors and symbolism of the toys they use and the interactions in their play.
The Association for Play Therapy (APT) is a national professional society. Through APT professionals can earn certifications in play therapy which include Registered Play Therapist and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisors. Each certification requires extensive education, training and supervision. There are many models of play therapy and each therapists chooses a model that best fits their professional philosophies.
Experiential Play Therapy (EPT) is a model of play therapy founded by Drs. Byron and Carol Norton. It is a model in which the therapist is trained to become a partner in the child’s play. The child directs their own play including the therapist. EPT allows children to rework their experience in an environment that helps them to approach their struggles so that they are able to regain the power that has been lost in the actual event or environment.