Psychoanalytic Play Therapy

Psychoanalytic play therapy is based on the assumption, through unconstrained play, that children will either consciously or unconsciously display troubles or developmental shortcomings that are otherwise difficult to identify. Properly conducted psychoanalytic play therapy enables the child to feel accurately understood, helping parents and teachers to not only be aware of the child’s emotional issues, but also giving them an effective, positive means to deal with problem behaviors.

In psychoanalytic play therapy, the child leads the content and direction of the play. Rather than making suggestions, the therapist responds to the child by reflecting and clarifying exactly what the child is communicating in the play session. By reflecting on the underlying meaning, the therapist develops solutions to the presenting problems – not only for the child – but for the parents, siblings, teachers and counselors as well.

Play therapy is usually conducted once or twice a week, in 45-minute sessions. The parents are generally seen bi-weekly or monthly as well. Therapy may take from six months to as long as two years, depending on the situation.