Making Games Therapeutic in Play Therapy

From Candyland’s Gum Drop Mountain to the rungs of Chutes and Ladders, games in play therapy are more than a race to the finish line. They provide us with direct insight into the minds and nervous system states of our child clients.  Learn some tips on how to make games in your play therapy sessions more than about just winning and losing.



1:15 Lisa discusses some of the questions therapists have when games become part of the session

1:26 How are games best used in play therapy?

1:40 Do all therapists advocate for games inside the playroom?

1:56 If games are allowed in the playroom, should we encourage certain ones?

2:10 Common games found in play therapy

3:05 Games as assessment versus games as intervention

4:01 How can games like Uno or Candyland be utilized in intervention?

4:16 A child’s approach to games gives us insight into their inner world

4:41 Certain games involve hypervigilance, providing us the opportunity for children to deal with the unknown

5:25 Ball play as a metaphor

6:00 What other games involve metaphors?

6:35 How do games allow us to see what a child sees?

7:06 How does choice of game provide us insight into a child’s emotional age?

8:58 How do games help us gauge a child’s level of frustration?

9:44 Nervous system regulation in games

10:30 How can we tell what a child’s nervous system is doing by the way they play?

11:29 What kind of self-awareness should therapists adopt when engaging in game play?

12:50 The importance of letting the child lead the play during games

13:53 What is the role of the therapist when a child selects a game?

14:05 Different children play games in different ways

15:25 Why is naming your experience vital during game play?

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