Western Kentucky University

Counseling and Student Affairs

Welcome to the Play Therapy Institute at WKU

What is Play Therapy and Expressive Arts?

playPlay therapy and expressive arts are viable counseling techniques used throughout the United State and internationally. As children are often unable to respond effectively with talk therapy, play therapy and expressive arts use the natural medium of play to assist them in expressing and working through their emotions and feelings. A plethora of toys and various art, music, and books are used to assist in the therapeutic exploration of negative and unhealthy emotions. Effective use of play therapy and expressive arts are learned skills that require education and supervision.

Play therapy uses the child’s natural medium of play to facilitate exploration of emotional issues. Through the use of toys and expressive art activities, children may express their feelings and thoughts. Play therapists implement developmentally appropriate strategies to assist children in discovering solutions to their problems.

Who Could Benefit?

Play therapy is developmentally appropriate for children between the ages of 3 – 12. Play therapy techniques and expressive art strategies may be used with clients of all ages in mental health settings. Children experiencing difficulties with social, emotional, learning, and behavioral issues such as abuse, anger management, trauma, and adjustment disorders may benefit from play therapy.

Best Practices for Play Therapy

Helpful Links

 Last Modified 11/4/13