Play Therapy

Children act out their feelings through play.   A play therapist observes the child playing in order to better understand the child’s emotions and pain. 

Play therapy is a therapeutic approach for working with children with behavioural or emotional difficulties. When a child has experienced trauma or considerable change, they need to understand and express their feelings.  Through therapeutic play, they are able to express their feelings safely and naturally, thus enabling the healing process to begin.

Play therapy supports children who have experienced divorce, hospitalization, chronic illness, death, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence and natural disasters. Treatment success is most positive when a parent is actively involved.

Children benefit in many ways:

  • Learn to express emotion
  • Become more responsible for behaviors
  • Develop creative solutions to problems
  • Develop respect for self and others
  • Cultivate empathy and respect for others
  • Develop confidence in their own abilities

Sigmund Freud documented the first case of play therapy in 1909, with his work with “Little Hans.”  Hans was a five year old suffering from a phobia.  Freud recommended that his father watch him at play to understand what might assist him.

By 1995, the Canadian Play Therapy Institute founded Play Therapy International. Certified Play Therapists are recognized worldwide in this field of psychotherapy, and are available to assist children with emotional or behavioral difficulties.

Specific Techniques


Select a region to view to corresponding Play Therapy professionals operating there: