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Loyola's Play Therapy Center celebrates National Play Therapy Week

February 7, 2014

It’s National Play Therapy Week Feb. 2-8, and Loyola University New Orleans Play Therapy Center for Education and Research is a local example of just how beneficial play therapy is for children and parents alike. What may sound like simple child’s play is actually a way to help children with issues ranging from emotional transitions such as divorce and the loss of a loved one to focus and attention problems.

In honor of National Play Therapy Week and to increase awareness of the method, Loyola’s center is joining licensed mental health professionals nationwide to remind the public of the value of play therapy. It will share the benefits on social media, including its Facebook page.

“This national awareness week offers the opportunity to normalize play therapy,” said LeAnne Steen, Ph.D., director of Loyola’s center. “Things move so much faster these days for our children, and kids sometimes have issues adjusting. Play therapy is an easy way for children to learn to adjust. The therapist meets the children at their level using their language.”

Just as adults use words to communicate, children use play to express thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain hidden, according to the Association for Play Therapy.

Loyola’s Play Therapy Center for Education and Research is the world's third such center designated by the Association for Play Therapy. The center runs an annual free parenting workshop, the Child-Parent Relationship Training, to teach New Orleans-area parents valuable therapy techniques—a service that could cost parents from $300 to $800. That class begins Thursday, Feb. 13. The center is also co-hosting the annual Louisiana Association for Play Therapy professional conference at Loyola March 21-22.

Graduate students within Loyola’s Department of Counseling can specialize in play therapy while meeting the requirements to be a licensed professional counselor. Graduates can then go onto become registered play therapists.

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