The Serious Work of Play:  Five Benefits of Play Therapy

The Serious Work of Play:  Five Benefits of Play Therapy

February 6, 2017

Erica Sewell, LCSW, RPT, Certified Autism Specialist

Plato said it best when he stated that “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Welcome to the world of Play Therapy! In celebration of National Play Therapy week, February 5th– 11th, I have highlighted below five benefits of play therapy:

  • Play is not just fun and games. It is an essential and healthy part of a child’s development because it impacts their cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being. Fred Rogers summed up both the importance and meaning of play when he said that “play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning.”
  • Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. Since children do not have the same cognitive abilities as adults, play therapy utilizes a child’s natural language, play, for optimal expression of thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
  • Play therapy is beneficial to a child’s brain! Play creates and enhances neurosynaptic pathways which helps to facilitate a child’s ability to self-regulate and stay in control.
  • While the playroom used for play therapy is full of fun and interesting toys, it is not stocked with the latest and greatest but rather with specially chosen toys encouraging a wide range of emotional and creative expression.
  • While playing with your child at home is important, play therapy is not the same as playing with your child at home. Play Therapy uses your child’s natural tendency to “play out” their feelings, worries and life situations in the presence of a specially trained Play Therapist.  The Play Therapist helps the child to feel accepted, understood and gain a sense of control or understanding about difficult feelings or situations.

Pro tip: Many therapists work with children and may use play in their work, the practice of play therapy requires extensive specialized education, training and experience. The Register Play Therapist (RPT) credential means that they have met all the required educational and supervised clinical hours to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).

Erica Sewell is the Founder of Full Circle Counseling and Family Services, PLLC in Dallas, TX. Full Circle is located on the Dallas North Tollway at the Dallas/Plano border. Read more about Erica at Erica can be reached at 214-592-7176 or

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