May 5, 2007: Play therapy is beneficial
for children suffering from trauma, according to
an expert in behavioural science.
For children exposed to trauma such as divorce,
domestic violence, or neglect and abuse, play
therapy offers a safe environment where their
thoughts and feelings are accepted and validated
play is the natural way for kids to work through
troubles. Till the time they develop abstract
thinking and language, play is a child’s vehicle
Play has a fundamental role in the healthy
development of childhood. It allows for fantasy
and creative imagination in the child’s
development and is a means to learn conflict
resolution, problem solving, expression,
regulation and containment of emotions as well as
a way for kids to communicate with others.
According to the expert, play gives the
children an outlet to figure out where they fit in
the larger scheme of things – such as in the
family and community.
Many a time, parents need to be taught how to
respond to their child’s behaviors, which must not
be judgemental but should be supportive.
Parents also need to be taught on the consistent
and effective measures to discipline their kids.
Another useful step is to involve parents in play
with their children, which help the parent to show
support and empathy for their children.
The effects of play on children take them through
successive phases – when children play, they often
present the problem first, then work through the
conflict, and then find a resolution.
Acting out with the child in a drama helps give
them mastery over their situation and feelings.
According to the expert, if a child has been
exposed to trauma or abuse or is struggling to
adapt to a life situation, it is better to attend
to the particular situation as early as possible.
A child is by nature open, honest and highly
accessible to therapy. As he grows into an
adolescent and then an adult, his defence
mechanisms become more entrenched and thus it
becomes harder to access his natural capability
BY OUR PHARMA CORRESPONDENT