What is Experiential Play Therapy®?

Like adults, children struggle with emotions and behaviors that can make life challenging for themselves and for those around them. It is not uncommon for children to begin acting out when they have experienced something unfamiliar, scary, unexpected or traumatic. Sometimes parents know what has happened to trigger this behavior change and sometimes they have no idea. In either case, support is helpful, if not necessary, to help the child return to a healthy state of functioning.

Unlike adults, children’s brains are not fully developed, a necessary component for traditional talk therapy. Play is the language of children and how they communicate. Play therapy offers a unique and effective way to address these issues in a safe and honoring environment that is child-friendly. Through the use of toys, art, story telling, and unconditional acceptance, children instinctively begin to address various forms of adjustment and trauma through interaction with a trained therapist.

Experiential Play Therapy®, developed by Dr.’s Byron and Carol Norton of Greeley Colorado, is a specialized model of play therapy that is non-directive and highly effective for children ages 18 months to 12 years of age. Experiential play therapy can significantly reduce and resolve behaviors associated with the following issues:

  • Physical, Sexual and/or Emotional Abuse
  • Anger and Agression
  • Divorce
  • Major Medical Illness
  • Adjustment Disorders
  • Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity and Oppositional Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty with Limits
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Adoption
  • Attachment
  • New Sibling Issues
  • Grief and Loss
  • Birth Trauma
  • Bullying
  • Selective Mutism
  • Enuresis/Encopresis (wetting/soiling)

verified by Psychology Today