Play Therapy

In play therapy it is much more important than in work with adults to focus not solely on the structure of the psychic dysfunction but also the development stage of the child and its social surroundings (family).

Play therapy is a particularly adapted method for children. Playing takes the place of talking. Thus, the child can directly show its emotional relations to people and things. It is imperceptibly encouraged in its inner hassle by being consistently and gently confronted with its problems and conflicts. It experiences its feelings more consciously and lerns to express them in an appropriate way. So the child is conducted to an attitude that corresponds to its nature.

Toys assigned to specific meanings help the therapist in understanding what the child expresses. For family play e.g. children need marionettes representing father, mother and siblings. The treatment that these get is an important reference to the child’s problems.

Hyperkinetic, aggressive children need activities that concentrate their forces and give shape and directioon to their unmastered power, e.g. driving nails into wood or sawing. These activities require ongoing interest, concentration and coordination ability. In a context of ongoing encouragement the children can increase their frustration tolerance and become increasingly able to aim their forces on specific objectives inside and outside their playroom.

Timid thildren need toys that permit them to hide what they don’t want to show and to do things or not without being unmasked and embarrassed. They can, for example, use clay to form a figure and crush it, or they can use paint for painting and for dirtying. Thus they can show their feelings and hide them in the next moment. The versatile usability of these materials gives children a chance to arbitrarily change the identity of their symbolic statements; thereby they gain sureness in discovering their inner and outer world.

The younger a child is the more it depicts what it experiences in its inner world instead of what it percieves in the outside world. After overcoming its stadium of strangeness and uninspiredness in the course of the therapy it begins to break clear with increasing self-confidence. This creative process is a confrontation between the ego and its wishes, fears, conflicts and joys; it permits it to dissociate from them and thereby to work them up.