Play Therapy

Play therapy is to children what counseling is to adults. Play therapy utilizes play, children’s natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings more easily through toys instead of words. Play therapists often use the phrase, “Toys are the child’s words, play is their language.”

Play therapy is defined as:

“A dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child (or person of any age) and a therapist trained in play therapy procedures who provides selected play materials and facilitates the development of a safe relationship for the child (or person of any age) to fully express and explore self (feelings, thoughts, experiences, and behaviors) through play, the child’s natural medium of communication, for optimal growth and development. (from the textbook Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship 3rd ed., Garry Landreth (2012).

When a child is participating in play therapy, the play therapist will also meet with the parent(s) and/or caretaker(s). Effective intervention is a joint effort between the child’s family and the play therapist. This will include suggestions for parenting and other components of the child’s needs for the joint goal of a successful outcome.

Explaining play therapy to children should be done in appropriate language for their developmental level. Dr. Dee Ray’s (Professor at University of North Texas) has made two useful videos.

PARENTS: Watch this simple, short video to help explain play therapy:

CHILDREN: Watch this video with your child prior to the first play therapy session:

Another video about play therapy:

All the professional staff at Door of Hope who provide play therapy services are specifically trained in play therapy.

Dr. Linda Homeyer is a Registered Play Therapist & Supervisor (RPT-S). She also provides supervision of play therapy to other professionals seeking to obtain the Registered Play Therapist (RPT) credential. The Association for Play Therapy grants the RPT credential when the requirements are met. Watch her interview here:

More information can be found at: