What is play therapy?

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. 


Merrill Graham is a Registered Play Therapist and Filial Therapist, and is a  member of the American Association for Play Therapy and the Michigan Association of Play Therapy (MIAPT). She holds a Play Therapy credential (RPT) that demonstrates additionally obtained, play therapy-specific education, training, supervised experience, and expertise in the area of play therapy with children.  She served on the MIAPT Nominations and Elections Committee and as the MIAPT West Regional Conference Chairperson for nearly 10 years.