1201 11th Street, Suite 200 B, Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: 360-734-7310 ext. 4444

Play By the Bay ~ Bellingham Play Therapy

> Most insurance accepted.

Coming Soon:
Transitioning between two homes: Help for more harmony & peace!

What is experiential play therapy?

It has been said that the purpose of childhood is to play; play is needed to learn. Play therapy provides a special process that allows children’s needs to be expressed through the use of play and toys in a therapeutic setting. Playing like this is important because for one thing, play is practice for parenting the next generation and for practicing other important roles in life.

In the playroom where the therapist provides a safe and understanding environment children make good use of the variety of toys and styles of self-expression including: sand play, art play, dramatic or reenactment play as well as fantasy play - all designed to help children understand and talk about their experiences, fears, anger, sadness or frustration that may be negatively influencing their behavior and your relationship with your child.


Playing with children validates to them that they are valued and that their world is important. Play is shown to serve some serious purposes in a child’s life. Experiential play therapy opens the door to using EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) in an age appropriate manner. Play is a natural form of CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as therapist responses are designed to not only connect with a child, but to help them process their life-situations. Play assists in supporting increased motor functioning as well as addressing social/emotional issues affecting the child’s life. Play therapy increases a child’s sense of well-being and self-esteem.

Parent involvement assists the play therapy process and parents are asked to come in and talk with me on a regular basis. When recommended by a therapist, parents may join in the play process and also asked to follow recommendations to support treatment outside of the play room process.

Play is still the language of children and toys serve as their words; play extends a child’s vocabulary as well as their ability to process and re-work stages of their development where things upset the natural course of learning. Adults can be dismissive of play - oh, they’re just playing ... But a child’s play is their work and often, young children don’t really get the opportunity to express their views in the family because they will do so non-verbally and oftentimes, be misunderstood entirely sometimes due to being the most creative communicator!

Parent coaching combined with play therapy helps children and parents get back on track in life and enjoy each other more - play therapy is offered throughout the world as one of the most effective and developmentally appropriate method of therapy for young children - witness the power of play!