Play Therapy for children – what is it and how does it work?


What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy for children is a form of counselling or psychotherapy that uses play to communicate. It is primarily used to help children prevent or resolve psychosocial challenges, and helps them towards better social integration, growth and development, emotional modulation, and trauma resolution. Using play as a therapy is a way of helping children work through emotional, psychosocial and behavioural difficulties by allowing them to feel safe and develop trust with their therapist, who follows their lead and enters their world.

How does Play Therapy work?

During a play therapy session, a play therapist and a child will work together in a playroom, which is equipped with specially chosen toys that will encourage the safe expression of feelings and also support the development of healthier behaviours. The therapist works with the child to explore and resolve their problems through the therapeutic use of play, using a range of toys such as puppets, stuffed toys, dolls, dress-up and make-believe clothing and props, art materials for drawing and painting, construction toys, and other games. Play therapy allows for facilitating healing from past stressful or traumatic experiences, allowing the expression of feelings, encouraging creative thoughts and new ideas, allowing the development of healthy decision-making skills, enabling the communication of problems and concerns to others and supporting the learning of new ways of thinking and behaving.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments including Heal for Life camps. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person


The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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