Find Play Therapy Near Me and Debunk Common Myths

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on May 30, 2023
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Play therapy is a widely recognized and effective approach to helping children, adolescents, and even adults cope and deal with various mental health issues.

It’s a mental health and treatment option that many individuals may be considering as they search for play therapy.

However, there are several myths and misconceptions about play therapy that can create confusion and deter people from seeking this valuable therapeutic intervention.

In this post, we’ll debunk some of the most common myths and misunderstandings about play therapy while highlighting the benefits of this unique approach.

If you have any questions about play therapy or suggestions on which mental health service, app, or course the Online Mental Health Reviews team should explore next, please leave a comment. We buy, try, and document a variety of mental health services to help our readers think for themselves and make wiser decisions.

We’re here to support and empower you on your mental health journey! Let’s play!

How To Find Play Therapy Near Me?

  1. Association for Play Therapy (APT) [] APT is a professional organization dedicated to promoting the understanding and use of play therapy. Their website offers a directory of registered play therapists, making it easy for parents to find qualified professionals in their area.
  2. Psychology Today [] This popular mental health resource allows you to search for play therapists in your area. You can filter results by location, insurance, and other factors to find the best match for your child’s needs.
  3. GoodTherapy [] GoodTherapy is an online directory of mental health professionals, including play therapists. The website provides information about play therapy, its benefits, and how to find a play therapist near you.
  4. Child Mind Institute [] The Child Mind Institute is a non-profit organization focused on children’s mental health. Their website offers resources and articles related to play therapy, as well as a directory of mental health professionals who specialize in treating children.
  5. Zencare [] Zencare is an online platform that helps you find vetted mental health professionals, including play therapists. You can view therapist profiles, watch introductory videos, and book free initial calls to find the right fit for your child.
  6. Theravive [] Theravive is an online directory of licensed therapists, including those who specialize in play therapy. The website provides information on play therapy techniques and allows you to search for therapists based on location and other criteria.

We hope this comprehensive list of online resources helps you find the right play therapist for your child. By using these tools, you can make informed decisions and provide your child with the support they need to overcome emotional and behavioral challenges.

Remember, early intervention is key, and finding a qualified play therapist can make a significant difference in your child’s life.

What is Play Therapy?


Play therapy is an effective form of counseling for children that can help them express their feelings, work through difficult emotions, and develop healthy coping skills.

Play therapists treat a variety of issues, including academic problems, autism, behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, mental health issues such as anger, anxiety, or depression, and social/emotional difficulties.

Play therapy is an effective intervention for children’s and adults’ problems that is uniquely responsive to their developmental needs.

Through play activities such as role-playing and games, music therapy exercises, and art, children practice problem-solving and develop new coping behaviors and social skills.

Why Play Therapy?

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Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses play to help children express themselves and explore their feelings.

  • It can be used to address a variety of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and behavioral problems.
  • Play therapy works by allowing children to express their thoughts and emotions in a safe environment where they feel comfortable.
  • Through play, children can explore their feelings, practice problem-solving skills, learn how to cope with difficult situations, and develop positive relationships with others.
  • Play therapy also helps children build self-esteem and resilience by providing them with an opportunity to take control of their own lives.
  • By engaging in play activities that are tailored to the individual child’s needs, play therapy can help them gain insight into their behavior and develop the skills needed for successful communication and social interaction.

Myth 1: Play Therapy is Only for School Children

While play therapy is find solutions often associated with children, it’s essential to understand that this therapeutic approach can be adapted and utilized for individuals of all ages.

Many adolescents and adults can benefit from play therapy techniques and tools to address their mental health concerns with a registered play therapist supervisor. Play therapy can be tailored to suit the developmental needs and interests of the individual, regardless of age.

If you think about it, why do kids play? Why can’t adults too? Could playing be the key to healing and growing where you’re stuck?

Myth 2: Play Therapy is Just Playing Games

One of the biggest misconceptions about play therapy is that it’s simply playing games without any therapeutic purpose. While play is a central aspect of this therapy, it’s far from being just fun and games.

Play therapy is a structured, evidence-based approach that uses play as a medium to help individuals express themselves, explore emotions, develop coping skills, and resolve psychological and emotional challenges together.

Myth 3: Play Therapy Isn’t Effective for Serious Mental Health Issues

Some people may assume that play therapy isn’t suitable for addressing more severe mental health issues. However, research has shown that play therapy can be highly effective in treating a wide range of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, childhood trauma, and behavioral issues.

Play therapy can also be used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or medication, to provide comprehensive support for individuals facing various challenges.

Myth 4: Play Therapy Doesn’t Require Professional Training

Another common misconception is that anyone can conduct play therapy without professional training. In reality, registered play therapists and therapists undergo extensive education and training to develop the skills and knowledge needed to provide effective play therapy services.

They are often licensed mental health professionals who specialize in working with individuals using play-based techniques. It’s crucial to seek a qualified play therapist when considering this therapeutic approach.

Myth 5: Play Therapy Results Take Longer to Achieve

Some people may believe that play therapy takes longer to produce results compared to more traditional talk therapies. However, this is not necessarily true. The timeline for progress in play therapy, like any other therapeutic approach, varies depending on the individual’s needs, goals, insurance coverage, and circumstances.

In many cases, play therapy can lead to significant improvements in a shorter period as it allows individuals to express themselves more freely and engage in the therapeutic process more effectively.

Myth 6: Online Play Therapy is Less Effective than In-Person Sessions

With the increasing popularity of online therapy services, some individuals may be skeptical about the effectiveness of online play therapy.

However, research has demonstrated that online play therapy, under appropriate circumstances, can be effective as in-person sessions. Online play therapy allows individuals to access specialized support from the comfort of their own homes, making it an excellent option for those who may have difficulty attending in-person appointments.

Myth 7: Play Therapy is Only Beneficial for Individuals with a Diagnosis

It’s a common misconception that play therapy is only helpful for individuals with a specific mental health diagnosis. However, play therapy can benefit individuals experiencing a wide range of emotional and behavioral challenges, even if they don’t have a formal diagnosis.

Play therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals going through transitional periods, experiencing stress, or coping with grief and loss.

Who is Play Therapy For?

Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses play to help children express their emotions, improve communication skills, and build self-esteem. According to Medical News Today, play therapy is used to treat a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, and behavioral problems.

  • Play therapy can be beneficial for children of all ages, from toddlers to adolescents.
  • It can also be used with adults who have difficulty expressing themselves through traditional talk therapy.
  • Play therapy helps create an environment where the child or adult feels safe and secure to explore their feelings and learn new coping skills.

By engaging in activities such as role-playing, art projects, storytelling, and games, the child or person can gain insight into their emotions and develop problem-solving skills.

Why Would a Child Need Play Therapy?

Unlike many other forms of therapy, play therapy is directed by the child which allows them to draw out scenarios that mirror their problems in a safe environment.

  • Play therapy is beneficial for children who are struggling with a wide range of issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, behavioral issues, and learning disabilities.
  • Through play therapy, children can learn to identify and process their feelings in a safe environment while developing self-awareness and problem-solving skills.
  • Play therapy also helps children build trust in their therapist and develop positive relationships with peers and adults.

Ultimately, play therapy provides an opportunity for children to explore their inner world in a creative way that allows them to gain insight into themselves and the world around them.

What Age Is Play Therapy Appropriate?

Play therapy is most commonly used with children between the ages of 3 and 12, although it can be beneficial for people of all ages.

What is the Difference Between Play Therapy and Counseling?

Play therapy and counseling are two distinct approaches to helping children work through mental and/or social emotional or behavioral issues.

  1. Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach that focuses on the normal communicative and learning processes of children. It uses play activities to help children express their feelings, process experiences, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and increase self-esteem.
  2. Counseling, on the other hand, is a more traditional form of talk therapy that involves verbal communication between the therapist and client to uncover underlying issues and gain insight into one’s thoughts and feelings.

While both approaches can be used to address mental health concerns in children, play therapy is often seen as more suitable for younger clients due to its use of play as a way of communicating.

What is the Success Rate of Play Therapy?

Play therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic approach that uses play to help children express their emotions, develop problem-solving skills, and build resilience.

Research has shown that play therapy can be effective in helping children with a variety of issues, such as aggressive behavior, learning disabilities, medical trauma, and adverse childhood experiences.

  1. Baggerly & Bratton (2013): This review study examined the efficacy of play therapy for treating different types of psychological issues in children. The authors found that play therapy was effective in reducing symptoms associated with aggression, learning disabilities, and chronic illness. Source
  2. Ray (2019): This randomized controlled trial investigated the effects of child-centered play therapy on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The results showed that participants who received play therapy had significantly lower ACE scores than those who did not receive it. Source
  3. Gresham et al (2012): This study examined the effectiveness of group play therapy for improving social skills among elementary school students with emotional and behavioral problems. The results showed that students who participated in group play therapy had significant improvements in their social skills compared to those who did not receive it. Source

Are There Different Types of Play Therapy?

There are several different types of play therapy, according to VeryWellMind. These include expressive arts therapy, bibliotherapy, the filial association for play therapy only, non-directive play therapy, and directive play therapy.

  • Expressive arts therapy involves drawing, painting, clay work, poetry, dance/movement, and other creative activities.
  • Bibliotherapy uses books to explore and teach concepts.
  • Filial therapy involves the parent or caregiver in the therapeutic process.
  • Non-directive play therapy allows children to express themselves freely without any direction from the therapist.
  • Directive play therapy requires the therapist to provide guidance and structure for the child’s play.
  • Other types of play include communication play, creative play, deep play, dramatic play, and exploratory play.

All these forms of play can be used in combination with each other to create a tailored approach for each child’s needs.

At-Home Training For Children with Social Anxiety (A Play Therapy Alternative)

Turnaround: At Home Treatment for Children with Anxiety (

  • Your child can learn how anxiety works and how to deal with it by listening to Turnaround, an at-home radio program that has won multiple awards.
  • Your child may be able to overcome their anxiety with the help of this.
  • Children who struggle with anxiety can benefit tremendously from and spend very little time doing Turnaround.
  • It has been of assistance to thousands of families all over the world, and the outcomes are comparable to those of traditional cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.

Play Therapy Near Me Conclusion

As you search for play therapy it’s essential to keep in mind that play therapy is a versatile and effective therapeutic approach that can benefit individuals and families of all ages facing various mental health concerns.

And please know there are always free online therapy services as well (mostly for adults).

By debunking common myths and misconceptions about play therapy, we hope to empower readers to make informed decisions about their mental health journey.

Additional Resources

While Zocdoc is excellent for finding local healthcare professionals who take your insurance, you may want to find other types of therapy. In that case, use the list below:

  1. Find Art Therapy: Unravel Myths, Discover Local Options
  2. Find Play Therapy: Locate Services, Bust Myths
  3. Find Hypnotherapy: Local Resources, Dispel Myths
  4. Find Music Therapy: Explore Locally, Break Myths
  5. Find Right Online Hypnotherapist: Weigh Benefits, Challenges
  6. Find Mental Health Centers: Your Local Guide
  7. Find Parent Therapy: Strengthen Family, Overcome Challenges
  8. Find Texas Physical Therapist: Understand Benefits
  9. Find Therapy for Emotional Abuse
  10. Find Humanistic Therapy: Right Therapist Guide
  11. Find Men’s Therapy: Comprehensive Local Services
  12. Find Binge Eating Therapy: Local Guide
  13. Find Skin Picking Help: Local Therapist Finder
  14. Better Speech Therapy Review
  15. Find Reading Guidance: Book Therapy Review

Our team invites you to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Let us know which mental health software products, apps, or courses that Online Mental Health Reviews should explore and review next.

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If You Are In Crisis

In a crisis, waiting for an online therapy session might not be the most secure option. If immediate assistance is necessary, please dial 911, especially if there’s a risk of harming yourself or others. For those contemplating self-harm, reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988 – they offer support 24/7.

Additionally, you can contact the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline provides a free, confidential service that assists individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues in finding treatment and information, available 24/7, throughout the year.

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