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Shanecka Brown
HilltopTrumpet Writer
Montego Bay campus


Play therapy is a specialized area of practice and a way to relate to clients who are unable to verbalize their feelings. (Getz, 2011) Clients that are unable to verbalize their feelings do so through play.

Also, it is the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.” (Getz, 2011)

There are numerous types of play therapies:

  • Child-Centered Play Therapy– The child is given a wide variety of toys. The play therapist allows the child to play with the toys in whichever way he or she chooses. The therapist observes and takes note as the child plays.
  • Sand-Tray Play Therapy– The child is allowed to use figurines in the sand to develop scenes.
  • Filial Play Therapy- The child is accompanied by the parent. The therapist teaches parents how to interact with their child through play.

Play therapy is very important as children are not well developed as it relates to their abstract thinking skills to process issues or the verbalization skills to process them.

Moreover, children are extremely imaginative. The play therapy is very critical as it helps the therapist to understand how the child thinks or perceives their environment and those around them.

It helps children to express their thoughts and feelings. The purpose is to create an environment where children can play and be expressive. It aims at developing a positive self-concept, self-responsibility, self-determined decision-making and coping skills.


The advantages and disadvantages of play therapy are tabulated below. (Creative Counseling Centre, 2015)

Advantages Disadvantages
Seeing that the environment is a play setting, children are more likely to be familiar with the setting. Their familiarity will make them more relax and calm. Play therapy may not work for everyone as researches have proven that the results were of a mixed one.


Play is a natural way for children to regulate emotions and thoughts. It is required that the therapist has an in depth understanding of the child, the personality and history of the child.
The therapist allows the child to play which may allow the child to bond with the therapist. It may be hard in discovering the right play therapist for the child.


It shows hidden fears and concerns when an observation is done on how the child plays. The process may become lengthy and drawn-out.

In play therapy, play is used as a means of communication. The process is consisted of a play therapy toolkit or a play room. The child is given the opportunity to play with the toys in whichever way that he or she chooses. The therapist on the other hand observes and take notes while the child is at play. In the process the child is left to express thoughts and imaginations through the use of play.


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