Play is a pleasurable, amusing interaction with people, animals, or toys, often in the context of learning or recreation that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. It develops self-expression, self-knowledge, self-actualization and self-efficacy. Play inspires creative thinking and discovery, and boosts our self confidence. Play can be used to rehearse life events considered necessary for survival. Mark Twain commented that play and work are words used to describe the same activity under different circumstances.
Play Therapy works under the assumption that through imagination and forms of creative expression, diagnoses can be made, and treatment for psychological problems initiated. Initially developed in the turn of the 20th century, today play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children engage in play behavior in order to work through their anxieties and resolve their own problems.
As treatment, play therapists use an expressive therapy to change the disturbing behavior, either systematically or in less formal social settings. These techniques can be used by children of all ages from 3 – 103. Many adults find that play is difficult and taboo. Most experienced group workers need specially tailored "play" strategies to reach them.