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Play Expressive Therapies

What is Play Therapy?

“Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression … It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as in certain types of adult therapy an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.”  Virginia Axline

Play is the language of the child. Toys are the child’s words. A carefully chosen variety of toys are available for a child’s use during a play therapy session so that they may use the process to express their feelings and thoughts, learn new ways of relating to their own selves and with others. Play also offers the opportunity to find solutions to problems, practice skills and roles, as well as rehearse and master lifelong strategies.

What is expressive therapy?

Expressive therapies are those with therapeutic approaches which introduce and include action. The action can occur inside several forms of activities. These activities range from utilizing games, toys, figures, or puppets to participating in any number of artistic creations. While many adults are more naturally drawn to verbal communication to express themselves, words may seem to limit their expression. Therefore, it’s helpful to consider how these activities/experiences can illuminate relevant issues previously unable to be expressed through normal dialogue, or often times, hidden from conscious awareness.

Who may benefit from Play or Expressive Therapy?

Most specifically, children from ages 3-12 benefit from play therapy however expressive therapies are of great value to all ages.

Individuals and families struggling with a wide range of concerns could seek out this type of therapeutic support. Some of the concerns may include; grief and loss, physical and/or sexual abuse, school struggles, relational challenges, depression, anxiety, divorce or other family challenges, and adjustment to new transitions.
Play and expressive therapies are positive and researched therapies that provide a safe psychological distance from problems for the involved individuals. This may increase the sense of safety and allow for greater exploration of a problem leading to healing.

Who provides Play or Expressive Therapy at DH&A?

Rob Winkler
Jessica Voerding
Maddie Johnson
Sarah Bowman