Play Therapy Using Play, The Language of Children

Britt Young, AMFT
Adapted from the Association for Play Therapy

Play therapy is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children (Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002; O'Connor & Schaefer, 1983). The curative powers inherent in play are used in many ways. Therapists strategically utilize play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings (Gil, 1991). In play therapy, toys are like the child's words and play is the child's language (Landreth, 2002). Through play, therapists may help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are emotional or social skills deficits (Pedro-Carroll & Reddy, 2005). The positive relationship that develops between therapist and child during play therapy sessions can provide a corrective emotional experience necessary for healing (Moustakas, 1997). Play therapy may also be used to promote cognitive development and provide insight about and resolution of inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking in the child (O'Connor & Schaefer, 1983; Reddy, Files-Hall & Schaefer, 2005).

TCC, Open to All


The Counseling Center of First Presbyterian Evanston is available to anyone.  Back in the late 1970’s, the governing board of First recognized the value of a specialized professional ministry.  Through this ministry members of the congregation and the community could receive confidential, cost-effective care for a range of life problems and psychological challenges.  TCC, then called The Center for Effective Living, was established.

Attitude of Gratitude

by Julie Ruchniewicz, TCC Parish Nurse

Summer is just around the corner and it is my favorite season.  I love the lack of a rigid schedule, nature’s sounds of summer and that the longer days give me more time.  I am often inspired to try something new in this season, so that I take advantage of the brief summer months that Chicago gives us each year.  This year I am working on strengthening my attitude of gratitude.  I am hopeful, that if I practice enough, my new attitude will become a habit.  There is a quote that says, “If you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness”.  Some people are able to maintain a rather positive attitude, despite everything going on around them.  We all can appreciate the good times, but these individuals are able to focus on the positive, even when faced with difficult events.  They see the good in obstinate people, the opportunity in a tough situation and they appreciate what they have, even when there is loss.  Wouldn’t we all like to increase our attitude of gratitude and strengthen our emotional resilience at the same time?

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