Julie G. Hartman, PhD


Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Lic. # 28202

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 Play Therapy


Play therapy is an internationally-valued form of treatment whereby the therapist provides various tools (recognized as 'toys' and 'games' by children, adolescents, and parents) that elicit certain themes during play.

Examples with children (depends on age/interests):

  • Dolls elicit family themes where children can create 'stories' between figures that may resemble conflicts the child has within his/her own family. With therapy goals in mind, the therapist facilitates the child's play in order to maximize the learning of new skills, help resolve any confusions, and to provide healthy alternatives for managing emotion. Boys often select animals figures or other toys for similar reasons.

Examples with adolescents (depends on age/interests):

  • Board Games provide opportunities to challenge a child's/adolescent's interpersonal skills typically played out with peers. The psychologist, in becoming an opponent in the game, assists the child/adolescent in learning social skills, such as frustration tolerance, taking turns, and coping with emotions such as winning, losing, competition, even negotiating about rules.

During therapeutic play, it is common for a child (and especially adolescents) to do 'talk therapy' about the real-world dilemmas that he/she is experiencing.

For more information, please view the Play Therapy Association website: http://www.a4pt.org/ps.playtherapy.cfm