Play-Therapy uses the power of play to help children achieve optimal growth and development and prevents or resolves a range of developmental problems or emotional difficulties. In a simple definition, Play-Therapy works for children just as psychotherapy or counselling works for adults. It brings to the surface any emotional or psychological difficulties within the child and gains insight into any family problems also.
Children who are involved in Play-Therapy enter into a dynamic relationship with the therapist where they learn about the world around them. The therapist becomes their “life boat” or “life support” as you might say. The medium of play helps the child to resolve and tackle any issues they may have.
Play Therapy is a form of counselling for children, usually from the ages of three to eleven. Children can’t necessarily express through word of mouth how they feel but through play these things can be interpreted and found out. Just like journalism, there are courses for play therapists in which you have to get a degree to qualify.
Play therapists organise sessions for children where the kids use a range of different activities, usually in the form of art under the supervision of their therapist. Anne Brennan has a diploma and certificate in Play Therapy Supervision and runs her own Play therapy classes. She is situated in Dun Laoghaire for two days a week and Meath, for the remaining five days.
Play-Therapy involves “ A very highly trained therapist who knows how to build a relationship with a child and who can actually work with that child through the natural medium for children which is play”- Anne Brennan.
The first major Irish event in regards to Play-Therapy was Play Therapy International’s (PTI) World Congress in 2000. It took place at Trinity College and the President addressed 200 delegates. Aideen Taylor de Faoite of Galway had a major part to play in the organisation of this event which put Play-Therapy on the map in Ireland.
“Research has shown that Play-Therapy is beneficial for every child and can be used as a preventative measure. It helps children make sense of their world , reaching their full potential while developing resilience and emotional intelligence”.