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Play Based Interventions Calgary

By introducing playfulness into emotionally heavy topics, play-based therapeutic techniques can enhance children’s engagement in the therapeutic process. Play is often associated with positive feelings. These feelings can help to buffer children’s distress, allowing them to feel safer when accessing overwhelming emotions.

Play-based interventions are activities designed to improve socio-emotional, physical, language, and cognitive development through guided interactive play. A therapist that uses play-based interventions may use reinforcement, modeling, verbal redirection, and indirect instruction to support and encourage child play activities. It is developmentally responsive to children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.


  • Specifically for children - preschool age and up

  • Children are internally motivated to play because it is engaging and fun, and when children play, they are focused on the activity itself instead of the outcome. It facilitates the development of the therapeutic connection/relationship between children and the therapist and can increase a child’s ability to explore, interact, and express themselves. 

  • Play-based interventions can take place in various settings such as small groups, one-on-one, and in family sessions. 

How It Helps

What does it help with?
Play-based interventions within a therapeutic setting contributes to overall well-being and healthy development.

  • Processing grief and loss

  • Social skills/social development

  • Increasing emotional awareness

  • Family life changes/transitions

  • Self-esteem

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Trauma

  • Increasing empathy for others’ thoughts and feelings

  • Development of healthy problem-solving skills 

  • Alleviating internalizing (social withdrawal, physical health complaints, nervousness, etc…),  and externalizing (physical and verbal aggression, defiance, inattention, etc...) behaviour problems

And much more..

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Play-Based Interventions FAQ

What are the benefits of play-based interventions?

  1. Play-based therapy contributes to overall well-being and healthy development.
  2. Increased engagement in the therapeutic process
  3. Enhanced therapeutic connection/relationship between child and therapist
  4. Improving child-parent attachment

How does it work?

Play is regarded as a ‘language’ in which children can express their experiences in a developmentally appropriate way.

What is the difference between play-based-interventions and play therapy?

Play-based intervention involves the incorporation of toys or play-based techniques within a therapeutic approach such as CBT. One may think of it like an add-on to other types of therapy. Play therapy is different because it is it’s own systematic theoretical model of therapy and should only be provided by certified play therapists.

When should this intervention be applied?

  1. When talk therapy is not developmentally appropriate
  2. When typical communication of thoughts, feelings, and experiences is overwhelming

How can we help?

At this time, many of our therapists incorporate play-based interventions into counselling sessions with children. Currently, Amy and Ashley provide counselling sessions with young children.

Get Play Based Interventions in Calgary

If you are unsure whether we can meet your  counselling or assessment needs give us a call or book online to receive a free consultation. You can then decide whether we are a good fit for you or your family.