I often have people ask me why I use PLAY in my therapy instead of just talking to a kid about how they feel.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have such STRONG feelings in your little body and NOT have the language or understanding of EXPRESSING what was going on inside?
This is often how children feel because they lack the capacity of expressing their feelings with verbal language. Many grownups have difficulty explaining or processing how they feel... now think of a child. Their SMALL little bodies can experience BIG emotions and a child who acts out or withdraws really is telling you that they are feeling something they can’t process or explain.
Play is healing to children. Play allows children to manipulate their world from their perspective on a smaller scale, something that cannot be done in the child's everyday big and COMPLEX environment. Through play, they can process and express how they feel in a way they understand. Every child has a natural instinct for play. Why not meet them in their world instead of trying to use techniques that may only make sense in a grown up world?
"One of the most important purposes of play in children is to recover from emotional distress. By pretending, or by retelling the story, the scene can be re-created. This time, the child is in Charge. Through playing it out, emotional healing takes place."
-Lawrence J. Cohen, PHD
Kiddos who have any of these symptoms can benefit from
·Excessive anger, worry, sadness, or fear
·Aggressive behavior (hurting others or self)
·Withdrawing from others
·Low self esteem
·Learning or other school problems
·Sleep, eating, or elimination problems
·Preoccupation with sexual behavior
·Difficulty adjusting to family changes
·Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches without medical cause
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