It’s no secret that all children benefit from healthy, loving relationships. These relationships are what help children grow and learn about how life works while sculpting them to be active members of society. Well, what happens when those relationships suffer? Whether it involves trauma, a consistent digital ‘babysitter’ (such as an iPad, television, or gaming console), or just a lack of initiative from the adults involved, children suffer much more than it may seem. So, what can be done about it?
Aside from getting the main adults in the child’s life to be more present, Theraplay can also be a great way to teach children about relationships, while building also building them. Theraplay has some similar concepts as Play Therapy, but is also very different. Play Therapy is a process that takes the child from the trauma they faced in life through the present time. It focuses on dealing with that trauma and growing through it, while building a trusting relationship with the therapist. Most Play Therapy is child driven and goes off of what they are feeling and what they choose to talk about while they play. Theraplay, on the other hand, lends more of a ‘move past and focus on the future’ mentality. It focuses on building relationships in the current moment by using a myriad of games and strategies decided on and put into action by the therapist.
By allowing the therapist to drive the play, the child can receive more direct help for different issues. Regardless of the issue; attachment, impulse control, anger, etc. the therapist isn’t waiting around for the child to present an opportunity to discuss or act out certain topics like in Play Therapy. They can plan session to session and build on the child’s growing skill set.
It’s been proven that therapy can be a great way to help decipher relationships at any age. Many people don’t start counseling until they are older and see the trauma they’ve been through in one way or another. Don’t children deserve the opportunity to understand that before they waste any more beautiful young years?