Best Child Therapists Use Play – It’s Time to Play!

If someone referred you to one of the best child therapists, you might be surprised to learn that the therapy space looks more like a fun play room. Do you recall a time when you observed a child during pretend play and it made you smile? Just like when adults use body language to communicate their feelings and emotions, children use the language of play. The best child therapists may start a session with, “It’s time to play!” and this can be a motivating and welcoming introduction for children starting play therapy with someone new.

Most kids don’t want to talk about what is troubling them. Even if they did, children get bored of talking pretty fast. The best child therapists use a variety of innovative therapies to help children make a connection to what is going on in their lives.

Many of the best child therapists and counseling are based on play like these that follow:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)-children respond to multi-sensory activities like drawing a picture of a silly monster that takes on the feelings they are feeling, or watching a soda bottle foam up over the top to demonstrate how anger builds. These types of activities set the stage for children to talk about their feelings.
  • Sand Tray-children love to run their fingers through sand. Play therapists guide children to add small toys that represent people and things in their lives. The therapist opens up dialogue by how they position and move the toys in the sand.
  • Play Therapy-therapists use interactions during board games and physical games to give meaning and purpose to the child’s feelings and emotions.
  • Role Modeling-when children can’t express their feelings, child therapists give them the identity of someone they always wanted to be and a scenario to act out. True feelings emerge during the role play and form the basis for working through their feelings.
  • Relaxation Tools-a child therapist might use manipulatives like stress balls to transfer the child’s stress to the ball, or use calm down bottles where the child tries to calm down before a shaken bottle settles.

Children don’t have the maturity to communicate their feelings using words without a little help from play. Games and fun activities help them learn about relationships and their feelings and resolve them. Play lets them transfer the skills and insights they learn to people and life experiences. It’s fun and they’ll want to come back! This makes some of the best child therapists stand out from the rest.

Contact Us

Contact us to learn more about how we may be the best child therapists for your needs. We serve families of San Diego County, including Carlsbad, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Escondido and surrounding cities.

About Susan Gehrig, PhD

Susan Gehrig, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and founder of Paradox Psychological Services located in Carlsbad. She has a passion for supporting the wellbeing of children and teens. Her expertise is in child mindfulness and self-compassion, cognitive behavioral therapy, and child development. Dr. Gehrig provides psychoeducational testing and therapy services to help build a plan for success. Paradox provides services for families of San Diego North County and greater areas.

1 comment on “Best Child Therapists Use Play – It’s Time to Play!

  1. Hello,
    I am a teacher at a local Preschool and am looking for a referral for play therapy for a student in my class. What is the youngest age you provide services for?

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