Therapy Games

Therapy Games are an essential aspect of Play Therapy. Play Therapy toys such as this Talking Feeling Doing Board Game by  Richard A. Gardner, M.D is one of the most popular play therapy board games on the market. Here at Play Therapy Outlet we have several variations of this popular series from the board game itself, to the card decks and many other items that support this collection.

Games in Play Therapy have different meanings, and play withing the structure of these therapy games is very beneficial in Play Therapy. Play Therapy Games are typically defined by rules, have a goal in mind and are directed by voluntary control systems. This structure of controlled play is very beneficial to reinforce social skills, following instruction, working with others, working together to obtain an objective, and learning to be a good sport when there is an ultimate winner of the therapy game.

Therapy Games can be wonderful tools to be played with families in therapy. They are a great way to have fun, and to have a fun and healthy dialogue with parents and children playing the therapy games. Playing Therapy games helps children relax and have fun in therapy sessions, and can allow children to open up more so to child therapists versus just talk therapy alone without the use of therapy games.

Using tactile board games are a unique break from the all to common video games, and our digital world. Therapy games also provides a great segue to talking about how if feels to win or lose at a given game, and how we can control our feelings and interact with others after winning or losing. Just the very act of learning to shuffle a card deck can prove very beneficial to the social aspect of working with their peers in the game to develop skills that allow them to interact on a dexterity level akin to learning to kick a ball in soccer within a team setting or shooting a basketball in a group .

By using rules with therapy games such as not cheating, not looking at others cards while playing. learning to take turns, learning to put the game away and clean up after themselves after the game is in use are all valuable social and life long skills they can learn from playing games. Children playing therapy games can learn to develop learning social cues that may be a struggle from some children. By teaching impulse control, which is a behavior that is at the root of many behavioral problems. Therapy games, such as board games teaching children in therapy to monitor and explore how they are feeling and to identify their emotions when playing games. Therapy games provides a framework to open discussions with the play therapist on regulating emotions.

Self expression withing the therapy game setting can have beneficial results as well. Learning how children who are playing these therapy games share themselves to others is a vital social skill as well. How we share and express ourselves to others is the very basis of our personalities which can set the tone for the rest of our lives. Playing and interacting with individuals in play therapy who may have a higher or lower “clearance level” in your life versus their friends or family members who may have a different level of interaction and these games open up that personality and begin to sharpen and deepen social interactions with others.

The way we share ourselves with others is called self expression, and how we do it is very varied. Learning is therapy games that there can be a “wrong” way to self express, and an acceptable way to express yourself to those around you is a valuable life long skill. By using facial cues, body language, how we dress, our movements etc. by letting go of social expectations of how we should act and tuning into our authentic self’s, therapy games can help open us up to who we really are to others and that by simply being yourself can have a very rewarding impact on themselves and others around them.

Therapy games also implement other valuable skills such as communication skills. Therapy Games can help with communications skills by implementing the following:

  1. Ask Open Ended Questions.Reinforce Active Listening. …
  2. Teaches speaking in a group or presentations skills withing the framework of play.
  3. Fosters reflective learning opportunities.
  4. Use Tasks and Activities That Foster Critical Thinking.

Play Therapy Games allows for children to develop skills within using rules and strategies to complete a goal in a game such as winning. By using organizational skills for information and objects within a game, we a taught to become effective at working with others to become efficient and work together to accomplish a goal. Therapy games teaches us memory skills, and persistence to not give up and to press individually or as a group to press through difficulties to accomplish a goal. Another valuable aspect is learning to plan withing the play therapy setting while playing a board game, card game, or other therapy game.

Many therapy game also address mental flexibility and executive functioning deficits. By using card games that use the color, number, shape, shading, and having children remember these cards or use them in the board game can prove very beneficial to mental flexibility and executive functioning.

Games can help children with processing disorders learn social skills and playing with others and can help to establish and enhance a therapeutic relationship with the child and therapist.

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