“Play is to the child what verbalization is to the adult. It is a medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, describing experiences, disclosing wishes and self-fulfillment. Because children’s language development lags behind their cognitive development, they communicate their awareness of what is happening in their world through their play. In play therapy toys are viewed as the child’s words and play as the child’s language – a language of activity.
Play therapy then, is to children what counseling or psychotherapy is to adults. In play therapy the symbolic function of play is what is so important, providing children with a means of expressing their inner world. Emotionally significant experiences can be expressed more comfortably and safely through the symbolic representation the toys provide. Play therapy is based on developmental principles and, thus, provides through play developmentally appropriate means of expression and communication for children.”
Excerpt by Garry Landreth & Sue Bratton
Alberta Play Therapy Association