What Is Play Therapy?

What is play therapy?2018-07-30T13:35:36+00:00

Play is the primary language of children. During play therapy, children create play that resembles the difficult or traumatic experiences they are struggling with internally. When facilitated by a trained play therapist, the play becomes focused on the purposes of emotional healing. This leads to a reduction of symptoms (i.e. acting out and aggressive behaviors, somatic complaints, withdrawal or regression, etc.) and the reestablishment of balance in the child’s sense of well-being.

At the Institute, our therapists have a wide variety of backgrounds and licensure in counseling, but all are trained in a cutting-edge form of play therapy called Synergetic Play Therapy. To schedule a session for your child, please contact us at 720-458-9597. You will be asked to do a short ten-minute phone intake in order for us to help you get connected with the best therapist to best support your needs.

Through the play therapy process children create play that resembles the emotional experiences they are struggling with internally. These experiences usually cannot be expressed verbally. Children will select special toys to include in their play and use those toys to recreate issues that represent emotional conflicts that are important to the child. Beginning with this expression, the child’s play evolves until the child gains a sense of understanding and comfort over this situation. Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing: PTSD, behavioral issues, depression, impulsivity, self-esteem issues, academic difficulties, parent-child relationship struggles, social issues, anxiety, loss, divorce/separation, abuse and more… * Copyright 1998 Byron or Carol Norton

What is Synergetic Play Therapy? Synergetic Play Therapists literally get to the root of the struggle, helping transform the child (and the family) from the inside out. As human beings we are given a marvelous coping mechanism in our biology called the nervous system. In simple terms, the nervous system acts like a “honing mechanism” constantly trying to keep us in an optimal state of regulation. When we perceive any form of challenge in our lives, our nervous system gets activated to either rev us up or slow us down—whatever we perceive is necessary to take on the challenge. Every symptom that a child struggles with is rooted in an inability for the nervous system to get them back to a state of regulation. When we have an experience that we have labeled as “challenging” in our perceptions, we will attempt to move away from the physical sensations, emotions and thoughts related to that experience. Neurobiology now shows us that in order for integration to occur, we must move towards the physical sensations, emotions and/or thoughts rather than away from them. Whether a child is struggling with anxiety, depression, loss, impulsivity, sibling rivalry, school issues, friend issues, sensory overwhelm, emotional sensitivity, etc, Synergetic Play Therapy can help.

“When I originally found The Play Therapy Institute for my eight-year-old daughter I expected and hoped it would help with her behavioral problems both at school and at home. What I did not expect was to find a resource for our entire family that not only addressed my child’s behavior, but helped identify and work with the root of what was causing it. Since then, both my husband and I as well as our teenage son have spent time at The Play Therapy Institute. It has been life changing for our family, and we feel blessed to have found such a wonderful resource for both ourselves and our children”

-Sara Z