What is Play?

Play is the singular central activity of childhood, occurring at all times and in all places. Children do not need to be taught how to play, nor must they be made to play. Play is spontaneous, enjoyable, voluntary and non-goal directed. It is done for its own sake.

What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy is based on the fact that play is a child’s natural medium of communication and expression. In the Play Therapy room, children can “play out” their experiences and feelings in a safe environment. Children can use toys to say what they can’t say with words. There are very few limits imposed on the child in the play room. They are allowed to do as they please, with the exception of hurting themselves or the therapist.

Why is Play Therapy beneficial to children?

1. Play therapy provides a way for children to work through defenses and handle anxiety.
2. It helps children verbalize feelings.
3. It helps children act out unconscious material and relieves tension.
4. Children can release feelings in a safe environment.

What is the Role of the Play Therapist?

The therapist’s responsibility is to go to the child’s level and communicate with them in a way they are comfortable. The therapist follows the child’s lead, and does not suggest play activities or themes (unless they are using a directed play activity with a therapeutic goal in mind). All of the child’s feelings and thoughts are accepted without judgment.

At Lighthouse Center for Therapy & Play, we use an integrated approach to working with clients and include individualized assessments which inform and guide the formation of treatment plans. In addition, we are committed to incorporating evidence-based as well as best practice guidelines.

What is the goal of Play Therapy?

Each child is unique and will take something different from the play therapy experience. Children can learn the following things in play therapy:

  • self-control and responsible freedom of expression
  • to respect themselves
  • that their feelings are acceptable
  • to be responsible for self
  • to be creative in confronting and problem solving
  • self-acceptance and self-direction
  • to make choices and be responsible for their choices