Play is a child’s language. It is known as a powerful act of self-expression, creativity, exploration, and learning.

Play therapy can be a therapeutic outlet for children to appropriately and effectively express their thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings that are suppressed can cause significant problems not only during childhood but into adolescent years and adulthood. Working with a play therapist can help alleviate your child’s challenges and provide them with skills that can carry them through the rest of their lives.

What is play therapy?

Play therapy has grown immensely over the last few decades. According to the Association of Play Therapy, play therapy “is a structured, theoretically based approach to therapy that builds on the normal communicative and learning processes of children”. What does that mean exactly? The child and the child’s therapist play together in a safe space in a way that is intentional and therapeutic. Through the act of playing, the child is expressing themselves and the therapist is gaining insight into how the child views the world around them.

Can my child benefit from play therapy?

The answer is YES! All children can benefit from play therapy. There are several therapists at Cherry Hill Counseling who specialize in working with children using play therapy techniques and interventions. Play therapy effectively helps children gain social, emotional, and behavioral skills.

Possible factors your child may benefit from play therapy include, but are not limited to:

  • Family issues
    • Divorce
    • Separation
    • Death of a loved one
  • Trauma
    • Abuse
    • Neglect
    • Domestic violence
  • Life changes
    • Birth of a sibling
    • Moving
    • New school
  • Chronic illness
  • Hospitalization

Signs your child may benefit from play therapy include, but are not limited to:

  1. Tantrums: Excessive tantrums lasting longer than other children in the same age group. This includes and is not limited to behaviors such as head banging, throwing items, screaming, crying.
  2. Aggression: Excessive aggressive behavior such as hitting, kicking, slapping, punching, biting, and throwing objects at others. This includes concerns for your child’s safety and the safety of others around them.
  3. Sleep Problems: Problems falling asleep, staying asleep, challenges with bedtime, and having nightmares or night terrors are common issues of children needing additional help.
  4. Regression: If your child’s speech, toileting, academic, or social skills decline. This includes your child not speaking after development of language skills, frequent toileting accidents after toilet training development, and experiencing academic and social challenges.
  5. Experiencing a traumatic or stressful event: This includes the child witnessing or experiencing any form of abuse, neglect, loss of someone close to them, domestic violence, being involved in an accident, or removal from a caregiver.

Please give us a call today if you are interested or would like more information regarding therapy services for your child. We would love to work with your child by giving them a safe space to express themselves and to foster creativity, exploration, and learning.

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Related Therapist Profiles

The following therapists specialize in Play Therapy

Brendan Bell, MA, LCPC

Deer Park | Wheaton

Brendan Bell is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois. He has worked in private practice for the last 20 years, with offices in both Deer Park and in Wheaton. His expertise involves working with middle schoolers, adolescents, and their families, with extensive experience addressing behavior disorders. Brendan also works with adults and particularly enjoys counseling artists.

Maria Catanzaro, MA, LPC

Deer Park | Wheaton

Maria has a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Wheaton College. She believes that it is important to consider each person holistically including the mind, body, and soul. She uses creative methods to help clients articulate their feelings and solve problems. Maria enjoys working with a variety of clients including caregivers, parents, children, teens, young adults, and adults.

Patrick Kelly, MA, LPC, CCATP


Patrick’s mission as a Licensed Professional Counselor is to utilize his diverse life experience and graduate-level education to make a positive difference in the lives of struggling and hurting people. His passion is working with troubled marriages along with helping individuals cope with and rise above anxiety and depression brought about by life’s challenges and difficulties.

Maria Statkus Ritchey, MA, LCPC, CCATP-CA

Deer Park | Wheaton | Chicago

Maria is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Maria is enthusiastic about working with different populations, including children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Maria has experience utilizing non-directive play therapy and her approach is client-centered based, while integrating client strengths within the process.

Kristine Buelow, MSW, LSW

Deer Park | Wheaton

Kristine has had the honor and opportunity to help many individuals and families over the past 25 years as a social worker. She truly enjoys working with seniors, family caregivers, adults, parents, teens and kids. Her approach is genuine, full of grace and with a sense of humor.

Christina Vargas, MSW, LSW


Christina is a trilingual therapist (English, Spanish, and Thai) with a Master’s degree in Social Work from University of Michigan. She specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Christina emphasizes and acknowledges clients’ strengths as she guides them through their personal struggles in hopes that every client she works with will achieve their full potential.

Haley Kramer, MS, LPC

Deer Park | McHenry

Haley has a master’s degree from Marquette University. She has experience working with young children and their families to address various issues such as trauma, behavioral problems, and emotion regulation. Haley has a passion for working with children ages 6 and younger. Haley believes in emphasizing a client’s strengths and advocating for their needs.

Debbie Levine, MSW

Grayslake | Vernon Hills

Debbie has worked in both the medical and clinical fields and has amassed much experience helping people navigate their unique life journeys. Her preferred therapeutic approaches include CBT, holistic and mindfulness.

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