Play/creative therapy is a form of counselling whereby the therapist utilises a variety of play and creative arts techniques to help the young person explore and work through things that may be bothering them. These could be things that are happening in the present or those that have happened in the past. The therapist supports the young person in trying to make sense of their life experiences and helps them to find strategies for coping with the difficulties that they face.
Play therapy is particularly useful and effective for young people who cannot or do not want to talk about their problems as they can use the mediums to express themselves without the need to talk.
Play/creative therapy may be non-directive in nature where the young person decides what to do in the session, directive, where the therapist leads the way or a combination of the two.
The aim of play/creative therapy is to enable the young person to express and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings in a constructive way within a non-judgmental, supportive environment. Few limitations or boundaries are put into place in order for the young person to feel able to play, create and express themselves freely. It is therefore important that a confidential, safe space is provided for the young person to work with the therapist.
What is the play/creative therapy toolkit?
The therapist is trained to use a variety of different mediums to help the young person to express and explore their feelings and emotions. These mediums are called the toolkit and include:
Sand tray and figures
Art materials including clay
Drama, dressing up and role play
Movement and dance