You may be keen on sending your child to therapy for any number of reasons, but you also need to know that some children have trouble opening up. If free-flowing dialogue isn't the norm in your family, your child may not initially have a lot to say when sitting across from a child therapist. Many children's therapists will use role-playing therapy to help children, and this type of therapy can come in a number of different forms. Often, the therapist will have a child recreate a scene with the help of some toys, such as action figures or dolls. Here are some reasons that role-playing therapy can be healthy for children.
It Gets Them Comfortable
A child who has been through any type of traumatic event may feel uneasy when he or she is expected to talk about this situation with a therapist. As soon as the therapist brings out some toys, however, he or she may notice a marked change in your child's demeanor. Even an upset child will often smile at the sight of toys and may quickly get down onto the floor and begin to play with them, getting lost in the fun. All of this is part of the therapist's goal of getting the child comfortable in this new environment.
It's Not About Him/Her
Eventually, the children's therapist will begin to ask gentle questions about what is going on in the child's life. Instead of asking the child to stop playing with the toys and to answer the questions, the therapist might have the child act out a scene with the toys. For example, if the child has been bullied at school, he or she might use one doll to "bully" another. Doing so can ease the challenge of talking about this subject matter because the child will be using the toys rather than necessarily making the bullying about himself or herself.
It's Likely Familiar
Most children aren't strangers to role playing. Whether they're playing cops and robbers, pretending to run a restaurant, or engaging in some other type of play with their siblings and friends, children use their imaginations to role play different scenarios. This is true, too, when children are using dolls, action figurines, toy cars, and many other types of children's toys. They frequently create characters, scenarios, and entire worlds based around their toys. As such, it shouldn't be difficult for your child to find success in this type of therapy.