According to the Association for Play Therapy (2015) "play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them (Axline, 1947; Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002). Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development."
Furthermore, Play Therapy International states that, "A safe, confidential and caring environment is created which allows the child to play with as few limits as possible but as many as necessary (for physical and emotional safety). This allows healing to occur on many levels following our natural inner trend towards health. Play and creativity operate on impulses from outside our awareness - the unconscious. No medication is used.
The therapist may reflect back to the child observations of what has happened during the session if this is felt to be appropriate. Above all, the child is given “special time." So often in modern life we never seem to have enough time to spend with our children - just playing, just being there for them. The child is given strategies to cope with difficulties they face in life and which they themselves cannot change. It provides a more positive view of their future life" (2015).