Play and Creative Arts Therapy is a type of therapy which is similar to counselling. It is a form of psychotherapy which uses play and creative arts as method of expression. The session takes place in a safe and contained environment where the child will work through their own conflicts and challenges alongside their therapist. The therapist can gain insight into the child or young person’s world by observing their play themes and the symbolic meaning of the child’s play through metaphor.
The client has the opportunity to work through their deeper emotional experiences in a way which is comfortable to them. During the session, the client will lead the session whilst the therapist follows, this is called non-directive therapy. The therapist accepts the child or young person as they are whilst adhering to Axline’s principles. Examples of the content within the session are:
- Sand tray and sand world figures and items
- Clay/play dough
- Creative art/drawing, craft and clay
- Musical instruments
- Dance and movement – fans/scarves
- Doll house
- Role play
- Creative visualisation
- Therapeutic stories
This type of therapy is also beneficial for young people, especially as the session is non- directive and it is the client’s choice to express themselves in the manner they chose, for example, verbal self-expression. There is no judgment from the therapist so the child or young person can work through the process in a way which they feel comfortable in whatever their age, whether they are young or older.