Dispelling the Myth that Children are Little Adults
Even in this modern day and age, with all the advanced knowledge we have about child development, there continues to be the lingering myth that children are “little adults” and should be treated as such. On the surface, of course we all realize that children have different needs than adults, but what exactly does that look like in therapy?
One of the primary things to keep in mind is that even the most verbal child does not have the cognitive ability developmentally to process and problem solve abstract concepts by talking things out. This means that traditional talk therapies that work for teens and adults won’t work for most children. Treatment is truly most effective when children are offered nonverbal means of expressing themselves and working through their internal conflicts (e.g., play, writing, drawing/painting, drama, dance, movement, and/or music).
Because play is the natural language in which children communicate and express themselves, it provides a natural and safe outlet for children to express internal conflicts or concerns. While a lot of talk therapists may offer some play based interventions, Registered Play Therapists (RPTs) have received rigorous training on how to apply traditional theoretical concepts in the implementation of play therapy practices.