Play Therapy is a form of counseling designed for children. It provides an environment in which children can explore their experiences. Play allows children to express themselves in a way that’s appropriate for their developmental level, even when they may not have the language to do so. Play can help children:
- Learn communication and problem-solving skills
- Learn how to express their feelings
- Build adaptive behaviors to deal with conflicts and triggers
The ROC’s social workers assist children with all types of challenges using play therapy. Over the years, we have seen children with mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. We also use play therapy to assist children and families who struggle with behavioral problems and disrupted attachment. Children in our program may also experience familial issues such as complex divorce, communication problems and parental substance use disorders and imprisonment. Many children who receive play therapy at the ROC have histories of trauma, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Poverty in and of itself is an adverse childhood event that is linked with chronic trauma. Play therapy offers children the space and opportunity to express their thoughts and emotions related to what they have experienced and how it has affected them.
When 8-year-old Mary first came to the ROC, she was anxious and easily agitated by even the smallest of things. On top of dealing with bullying at school, her parents recently divorced and she was now living with her mom. The changes brought by the divorce were overwhelming to Mary and made her anxiety much worse.