Play2Grow became the name for my play therapy practice. Not only was it a catchy name, easy to remember and professional, but it contained two very important words, namely “play” and “grow.” These words describe the essence of the play therapy experience, in that in order for children to grow, they need to play!
Play is something that children really enjoy; it is relaxing, fun, spontaneous and it doesn’t rely on others or any external rewards. Not only is it a pleasurable experience for children, but it also allows them to make sense of their world and their experiences. Play is a child’s natural medium for self-expression and learning, and it also allows for a cathartic release of feelings and frustrations. It allows them to practise roles, understand relationships, identify emotions and act out troublesome issues. Hence, play is one of the most important parts of your child’s development.
Dr. Garry Landreth, internationally renowned play therapist and founder of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas, reminded me in a recent training workshop, that when a child is born that child possesses everything he/she needs for growth and development. It is my job, as a play therapist to release, not change, what is already within the child.
In his book, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship, Dr. Landreth explains that, “Children have an inherent tendency toward growth and maturity. They possess an inner intuitive wisdom.”
I believe that every child knows what he or she needs to do in order to heal, grow and develop. Children are constantly changing and growing, and this dynamic process must be matched with an equally dynamic therapeutic approach, in other words, play therapy. Lastly, children are the best sources of information about themselves and they are quite capable of directing their own growth when given the freedom to do so.