By Holly Willard
Teens benefit from play therapy because it allows them to deal with issues in a less threatening way. Typical “talk therapy,” can be boring or too intrusive for many teens. In play therapy, teens are able to explore feelings through music, art, dance, sand tray, imaginary play, etc. They get the opportunity to use their creativity and imagination. They can access subjects in their subconscious that they are hesitant to talk about or might not even be aware of. Since teens “experience” the therapy the results are usually more profound and long-lasting.
Examples of play therapy interventions with teens:
- Make a collage of your true self.
- Share a song that communicates feelings.
- Construct a representation of your family in the sand tray.
- Draw a picture of your depression.
- Play a board game and talk about feelings.
- Use clay to construct a sculpture of your fear.
- Write a poem or letter about your addiction
Play therapy can benefit teens struggling with depression, abuse, grief, addiction, adoption, ADHD, trauma, family stress, anxiety, relationships, problems with peers, self-esteem, sensory processing issues, body image, anger issues, parent’s divorce, autism/aspergers, etc.
Play therapy with teens can be used in individual, family or group therapy. Group therapy is quite effective for making friends, improving communication skills and learning coping skills from peers who experience similar challenges.