Play Therapy

child, tower, building blocks
nursery decoration, teddy, shelf

What is it?

Therapeutic play is a method of helping children with behaviour emotional and social problems to help themselves in a safe space where children can play out their feelings and problems with a therapeutic objective. The main role of the therapeutic play therapist is to hold the space and contain the child’s feelings.

Play is the child’s natural medium of self – expression and it is essential for a child’s development. It can help all sorts of ages but is more effective for ages 3 -12.

Therapeutic play is not just play for fun it is a process of getting out emotional dirt from the wound.

The therapeutic play therapist has a tool kit that consists of puppets creative art materials sand play clay musical instruments and dressing up clothes. This symbolic fantasy play with its use of metaphors provides new experiences that develop the mind.

Why is it important?

The purpose of play therapy in schools is to help the children benefit from teaching. By alleviating their emotional, behavioural and mental health problems in a safe space where a child is able to disclose

Benefits of play therapy

  • Play is essential for children to develop physically, emotionally and socially.
  • It fosters imagination and creativity.
  • Encourages confidence and concentration. 
  • It helps children to make friends and learn about their ever expanding world.
  • It allows them to learn from mistakes safely.
  • Play can be used to establish a relationship
  • It is used when ‘talking therapy’ doesn’t work (very often with children)

The benefits of therapeutic play in an educational setting

  • Child is in their familiar environment
  • Teachers and school staff and the parents work together as a team with the play therapist to support the child
  • Child does not have to be absent from school
  • Parents do not have to miss work in order for their child to have therapy
  • Child does not feel the stigma that something is wrong with her or that she is a problem or no good

Who Is Therapeutic Play Intended For?

  • Bereavement / Loss
  •  Separated/Divorced Parents
  •  Under Performing academically, socially, culturally & physically
  •  Behavioral Problems
  • Communication Problems
  • Withdrawn
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • Nightmares
  • Delayed Development
  • Unauthorized Absences
  • Social Exclusion
  • Bullied/Bullies
brush, color, paint
crayons, coloring, child
happy, smiling, cuddly toy
autumn, leaves, colorful
child, kid, play

Principals to Apply In Therapeutic Work

    • The child is neither praised nor blamed
    • There is no judgment, no right or wrong. 
    • By providing a free atmosphere within safe boundaries the adult allows the child complete freedom to express him or herself 
      • Physically
      • Verbally
      • With play things

Our Rules

  • There is no goal apart from the therapeutic objectives.
  • Will facilitate the child that things will come from the child by giving the child permission to express how they feel with whatever medium the child has chosen to play with.
  • The goal of the therapy is for the child to have a safe space to express their feelings
  • To hold and contain the space for child so that the child feels safe to express their feelings.


When a child’s too painful or too difficult feelings are left untalked about, they leak out in difficult and challenging behaviours, or in neurotic symptoms. Children do not have the inner resources to be able to fully process and digest their troubled feelings all by themselves. They need help.

In story telling children will use metaphors or symbols to express their thoughts, feelings, struggles, dilemmas, conflicts and resolutions