How nurses can help with effective play therapy

The number of children diagnosed with mental health disorders is on the rise. It’s important that nurses are equipped to deal with them. Play therapy is one way that children can be helped to cope with and understand their emotions.

Advancing your nursing education can help you cope with these situations. Enrolling in an advanced nursing degree at Wilkes Passan School of Nursing can help you understand how to cope with children who suffer from mental disorders.

What is play therapy?

Play therapy is a type of therapy that uses play to help children and adults express their emotions and address psychological issues. In play therapy, a play therapist is trained and experienced in how to support the process of change.

How can nurses help?

Nurses play a vital role in providing care to patients and their families. They often work long hours and are exposed to a variety of stressors that can impact their physical and mental health. Therefore, it’s important for nurses to find ways to cope with the demands of their job.

There are many techniques that nurses can use in play therapy to help children. These techniques include reading kindness books, interpreting what the child is experiencing, role-playing with the child as a pretend therapist, and setting up situations that provide children with motivation or incentives. Nurses can help children express their emotions, increase their self-esteem, and foster a more compassionate attitude toward themselves.

Here are some play therapy techniques used by nurses:

  • Role-playing – This allows the patient to play out the way that they think about their emotions. It also helps them express themselves.
  • Creative visualization – This is a type of guided imagery that uses artistic visualization to help a person achieve different goals.
  • Art therapy – This is a type of play therapy in which patients work with art as a form of self-expression. This can help them make sense of their feelings and understand how their feelings impact themselves and others.
  • Water and sand play – This involves the use of water as an influence on play. Water can help with relaxation and stress relief. It also encourages fantasy by transforming objects in water into different shapes and colors. Sand play involves the use of sand as a therapeutic tool used to create art, express feelings and communicate life experiences. 
  • Dolls and action figures – These figures can be used to help patients express feelings, emotions and thoughts. These items allow patients to express themselves in new and creative ways.

Why is play therapy effective?

Research has shown that play therapy can be an effective way to help children and adults express their feelings and address psychological issues. Having a supportive nurse can help teach children that expressing their feelings is not only acceptable but also expected.

Potential benefits of play therapy include:

  • Alleviation of anxiety
  • Improved behavioral responsibility
  • Developing creative problem-solving skills and coping strategies 
  • Empathy and self-respect
  • Learning to experience and fully express feelings
  • Stronger family relationships

Final thoughts

With good knowledge of play therapy and empathy, you can help children cope with their emotions and mental disorders. As an RN with an advanced degree, you will be able to understand how to better deal with children who need help dealing with their emotions.

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