Children with Anxiety and Play


Sometimes children are anxious or exhibit anti-social behaviour in daycare/school. It might hamper their academic development and they might be disruptive in class. Some schools may even suggest seeing a psychologist as they believe the child could be on the autism spectrum or have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

But, this is not always the case. Sometimes the child may just be displaying some anxiety and need help dealing with emotions.

Play therapy interventions for anxiety are the most effective way to help children. Did you know that childhood anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychiatric problem seen in children?

Anxiety is something all people experience and there are normal levels of anxiety for children at various stages of development such as separation anxiety when a child is between the ages of 18 months to 3 years. It is when the anxiety occurs beyond the normal developmental stages persistently in such a way as to interfere with a child’s functioning that it needs to be addressed with professional intervention and support.

A prescriptive play therapy approach is one taught in play therapy training because we need to assess where a child is in their development and circumstances to determine the best way to help that individual child. Child-centered play therapy is the foundation of all play therapy in that we must allow the child to explore, express and experience her feelings, perceptions and thoughts through her play and we are able to see and understand better what that child is experiencing.

Small children sometimes don’t have coping strategies yet, and play helps them formulate strategies to deal with problems.

Its non-directive play. Through play, every child, or person, has the internal capacity and drive to want to resolve things within themselves. That is the play therapy modality. Human beings have an innate capacity and desire to resolve issues within themselves, even if it’s not conscious. So, you can say that play therapy works with the conscious and subconscious.


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