Play therapy is a structured, theoretically-based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. (Schaefer, 1983)
Through the use of play therapy, children are able to identify and work through issues that they might be unable to identify and articulate. Through play, they show us their world in a manner that is comfortable and meaningful to them. Through play, they tell us about their sense of the world-including themselves, their family, their peers, and their problems and worries. Through play, they learn to communicate, solve problems, modify behavior, and understand themselves. And through interaction with a trained play therapist, they are guided through the emotional challenges that they are facing-all within a safe, neutral, and accepting therapeutic environment.
I am cross-trained in the use of EMDR and Play Therapy, which has the added benefit of allowing for a child-responsive treatment that utilizes the AIP/Adaptive Information Processing Theory and Play Therapy, thereby providing a safe space for trauma processing through the therapeutic use of toys, art, crafts, and sand tray.
Dr. Merrill Graham is the past President-Elect for the Michigan Association for Play Therapy (MIAPT). She is a Registered Play Therapist, and is a member of the American Association for Play Therapy and the Michigan Association of Play Therapy. She holds a Play Therapy credential (RPT) that demonstrates additional play therapy-specific education, training, supervised experience, and expertise in the area of play therapy with children. She previously served on the MIAPT Nominations and Elections Committee and as the MIAPT West Regional Conference Chairperson for nearly 10 years.