Talk therapy alone has not been shown to be helpful with young children. Some talking is important to give children some basic information and to answer their questions, but it is through play that children, especially those under the age of ten, have real opportunity to gain emotional stability. For children, play is the method of self- expression. The objects and patterns of play, as well as the willingness to interact with the therapist, can be used to understand the underlying motivations for their behavior inside and outside of the play room.
Virginia Axline (1950) summarized her concept of play therapy stating, “A play experience is therapeutic because it provides a secure relationship between the child and the adult, so that the child has the freedom and room to state himself in his own terms, exactly as he is at that moment in his own way and in his own time” By the early 1980s, play therapy became an established therapeutic modality for treatment of children. In 1982, the Association for Play Therapy (APT) was established. Currently, the APT has almost 5,000 members in twenty-six countries. Play therapy training is provided, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas (2000), by 102 universities and colleges throughout the United States.
The play room.