Play is seen as the natural language of children. Children do not need to learn to play, it is a natural occurrence across all cultures and socio-economic status. What better way then, to allow a child to express himself than through play?
Play becomes the words of the child, providing children with the opportunity to express emotions, thoughts and experiences of which they might not have the vocabulary. During play therapy the therapist thus attempts to give the child the opportunity to express him/herself verbally or non-verbally through age appropriate, play activities. “Play is the child’s symbolic language of self-expression and can reveal
(a) what the child has experienced;
(b) reactions to what was experienced;
(c) feelings about what was experienced;
(d) what the child wishes, wants, or needs; and
(e) the child’s perception of self.” – Garry L. Landreth, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship.
Through play therapy, the child is given the opportunity to develop certain skills, practice important roles and process and integrate events with emotional content. The unique quality of play makes it a powerful therapeutic intervention.
“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.” – Friedrich Froebel