Play therapy was developed in the early 1900s by the founders of Child Psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud, Margaret Lowenfeld, and Melanie Klein.
The preliminary components that play therapy was built from are not all present in the modern form. However, many of the original elements still exist in current play therapy. These three psychologists believed that a child’s unprompted play was an alternate to free association, which was a therapeutic method for adults during this time period. Play therapy centers around the premise that when children play, they are expressing their feelings, thoughts, and life experiences. These aspects may be difficult for children to express in a non-play environment. Play therapy has been implemented for over a century, but it is currently a growing therapy method among mental health professionals. An increasing number of families are involving their children in play therapy, and it has become a common form of treatment in the United States.