I grew up in a household that didn’t recognize mental health. There was a mindset that you can control every aspect of your life, so you don’t need help from anybody. So, that is what I went on doing for years until college! That’s when I realized that I was struggling with my mental health. It would then take getting married young, having a child, and then going through a divorce for me to get the help and support that I needed. I knew I had to normalize it for my son—that’s my why—and that is when we discovered play therapy.
What Is Play Therapy?
According to the website HealthLine, play therapy is is a form of therapy used primarily for children. A therapist uses playtime as a way to observe the child and analyze certain behaviors. During this time, trauma and emotions can be revealed and explored. Through playtime, children can be taught to change behaviors through modeling, or showing them how to appropriately handle feelings and emotions.
I knew that my son had big emotions, and since I was going to therapy for my big emotions, I wanted to also support my son at a young age. There are virtual and in-person options, but we opted for in-person. At first my son was hesitant, but when we started going he quickly became very comfortable and excited.
My son loves to color and paint, so when his 45-minute session was finished he would bring his artwork back and express how excited he was for his next session! We set specific goals and topics we wanted my son to work on during these sessions. In his kindergarten class, I noticed that the play therapy was helping him with listening, problem solving, and communicating skills.
Therapy is beneficial for everyone. When I mentally got stronger, I noticed that my son was, too, but there were things I knew I couldn’t fully give him. Relationships are important, but an outside perspective is also insightful. I get that from therapy, as well as an outlet to talk through life, trauma and growth. I want my son to have that throughout his whole life, through the good and bad times.