Children use play to communicate their understanding and awareness of their world, unlike adults they do not have the cognitive development to express themselves using speech. In Play therapy, play is viewed as the child’s language and the medium provided (toys) are their words. Thus, a space is created for them to “play out” and transfer emotionally significant experiences using toys.
In this process, play enables children to distance themselves from the traumatic experience and therefore do not feel too overwhelmed by their feelings. Play serves as a medium through children have the opportunity to symbolically act out their feelings and possibly change or find a solution.
This leads to inner resolution for the child and processing of emotions, enabling her to adjust or cope better to problems. The counselor creates a safe environment through establishing trust and empathetic acceptance in order for the child to express the essence of their true self, therefore the relationship between the counselor and child is the heart of the counseling process.
Working at the child’s pace, the counselor enters their world in a personal and interactive way as the child brings her emotions to the surface and then either controls or let’s go of them.
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversations - Plato