A Lesson in A Child’s Play

How to make therapy fun!


As I continue to navigate through life and find paths that I feel passionately about, I have discovered some unusual tactics that remind me of how capable we all are as human beings. One of those tactics, for children, is referred to as play therapy. It is a type of therapy (if you can even really call it that) used for children who aren’t quite verbal yet, such as under the age of 6. However, many older children use it too, since feelings cannot be simply summed up in just a few words with a therapist.

The funny thing about play therapy is that it is almost the opposite of what conventional treatment would be. There is no “intervention, ” and often the therapist doesn’t even talk to the child. The child is in a room with various play mediums such as dolls and a dollhouse, paint, clay, and other open-ended play objects. The child can choose to play with whatever he or she wants and in whichever way he or she wants. Even if the child says or does something inappropriate with the mediums, the therapist is not allowed to interfere with the way the child plays at all. Usually, the therapist writes down or records what the child is doing and then analyzes it with a parent. Over some time, and more often than not, the child can process his or her pain through play and come up with the appropriate way of dealing with it. All of this without the direct interference of a therapist or parent.

The concept behind play therapy is that we were all born with
the ability to deal with the harshness of life.


That capability is just already there. We aren’t born broken and we have not become broken. Instead, things have been allowed to get in our way when we are trying to learn and grow. In many parts of a child’s life, people are trying to tell them how to play, eat, sleep, and interact with everyone around. This information can get confusing and override that little voice inside of them that usually directs them so well. When children can play in a place where no one is telling them what to do, this small voice, that piece of wisdom, comes out and helps them see what they need to move on.

As adults, we have the ability to put words to our feelings and to process more verbally as well as process our experiences in many other ways. So, in many senses, we don’t have to do what children do- play- to get in touch with that innate wisdom. In fact, for me, all I need is to remind myself that my wisdom is there and allow it to naturally come out.

Sometimes I ask myself these questions: what am I doing that is interfering with hearing that voice in my mind, directing me? What am I not doing? How can I find a small way to get in touch with it today? Sometimes, for me, it means turning off the TV and meditating. Sometimes it means sitting down by the window and looking at the beautiful blooming trees outside. Sometimes I don’t even have to do anything except quiet my mind.

You see, we naturally allow our mental clarity and innate wisdom to come through when we simply “get out of the way.” Just like children, when we get rid of the “noise,” that overrides that little voice inside, our natural wisdom will shine and direct us.


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