Play Therapy for Children and Families

Play Therapy pic

Play Therapy
Image: play-therapy.com

Former teacher Douglas (Doug) Grant possesses significant experience teaching in Texas middle schools. In addition to his work as a classroom teacher, Douglas Grant has previously served as a school counselor. He currently uses these skills as a counselor at South Texas Rural Health Services, where he utilizes sensory integration techniques and play therapy in his work with families.

Play therapy is an effective way for behavioral health professionals to understand what a child is feeling. Children rarely have full control over situations in their lives, but they get to assume a position of power during play time. Toys in hand, they are free to act out emotional experiences with total control.

This is a powerful form of communication. Through free association, children who struggle to articulate feelings verbally can express themselves in a way that social workers and therapists can understand.

In filial play therapy, parents participate too. This method is becoming more popular, as it allows professionals to see how children relate to their parents during play. Play health practitioners can use this approach to help improve communication or understand other issues that may be occurring in the home.

Benefits of Play Therapy

Play Therapy pic

Play Therapy
Image: psychcentral.com

A former middle school teacher in San Antonio, Texas, Douglas (Doug) Grant has held positions in the Northside Independent School District. Teacher Douglas Grant currently works as a licensed professional counselor with South Texas Rural Health Services, where he utilizes sensory integration and play therapy techniques to offer substance abuse and behavioral health counseling.

An alternative to talk therapy, play therapy invites children to act out real-life scenarios using fantasy objects such as dolls, puppets, and drawing materials. The familiar activity of playing is one where the child feels confident and in control, and thus, they tend to express themselves best in this way. Typically, therapists give children the full freedom to direct their own play and actions. By cultivating a safe, empowering environment and creating a warm rapport with the child, play therapists encourage the exploration and release of problematic negative feelings. Play therapy can help children develop self-confidence and learn how to express themselves in response to real-life situations. It is a particularly helpful tool for children who have experienced issues such as family violence, grief, or a major change in their family situation.