Play Therapy

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Play therapy is what it sounds like, a tool that provides therapy through play. What counseling and psychotherapy aim to do for adults, play therapy aims to do for children. Play therapy encourages the expression of a child’s feelings, experiences, and cognitive functioning. It is seen as being able to be easier for young children ages 2-11 to unleash their feelings. In adults it is harder to use this therapy though. Play therapy is often used as a tool of diagnosis. Children will engage in "play behavior" in order to work out their anxieties. This is why play therapy is so useful in children. This therapy has been around for much longer than most may think. It can be traced back as far as Plato. He was reported to say about play therapy "you can discover more in an hour of play then you can in a year of conversation". In modern time it was who else but someone named Freud who would be one of the first recorded cases in modern time using this therapy.
Freud was known to apply psychotherapy to his own children. This then lead to his daughter becoming a psychotherapist. She however dealt more with just children then all ages. She in 1927 was a counselor in a school creating healthy development in children with mental disabilities. Freud identified her theories of play as a repetition of symbolic games being the "ego's" attempt to repeat actively a traumatic event, which had been experienced before. This allows the child to get passed the event. From this an analysis can be developed which used play to interpret the child's unconscious motivation. The two people who were the front runners for this development are who we have talked about (Anna Freud) also Melanie Klein from their work with neurotic children. Anna Freud looked for the unconscious motivation behind imaginative play, drawings and paintings, dreams, daydreams, and all the little games that children play. She emphasizes the importance of the relationship between

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