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Play therapy

Play Therapy
“We are never more fully alive,
more completely ourselves, or
more deeply engrossed in
anything than when we are
playing” –Charles Schaefer
Definition of Play
• Play therapy is the systematic use of a
theoretical model to establish an
interpersonal process wherein trained play
therapist use the therapeutic powers of
play to help clients prevent or resolve
psychological difficulties and achieve
optimal growth and development.
(Association for Play Therapy Board,
March 1997)
Play Therapy Activity
Types of Play Therapy
• Directive Play Therapy
• Non-Directive Play Therapy
Theories of Play Therapy
• Directive
• Non-Directive
Cognitive behavioral
– Child-centered
– Jungian
– Psychoanalytic
Methods of Play Therapy
Sand Tray
Imaginative Play
Puppet Play
Play Therapy Activity
Sand Tray
Group Sand Tray
Toys Needed for Play
Therapy Room
• Scary toys
– Client’s can use
these to deal with
– Plastic monsters,
snakes, bugs, bears,
lions, dinosaurs
• Nurturing Toys
– Client’s can use
these to play out
family relationships
and events
– Doll house, dolls,
puppets, baby dolls,
baby doll supplies,
kitchen set
Toys Needed for Play
Therapy Room
• Aggressive Toys
– Clients use these to
express anger and
aggression and
explore power and
control issues
– Guns, play knives,
hammer and nails,
toy soldiers,
punching bag
• Expressive Toys
– Clients use these to
express feelings,
deal with
– Crayons, paper,
scissors, paint,
craft items.
Toys Needed for Play
Therapy Room
• Pretend/Fantasy Toys
– Clients can use these to explore
different roles, hidden feelings, and
alternative behaviors
– Masks, hats, doctor’s kit, zoo and farm
animals, building materials, jewelry
Support for Play Therapy
in the Schools
• Play an effective treatment for children’s
problems (Ray et. Al., 2001)(Cohen, 1977)(Johnson
et. Al., 1997) (Post, 1999)
– Children’s natural language is play. Play is a
developmentally appropriate way that children express
themselves. (Axline and Landreth)
– Play is a natural way for children to express
feelings/emotions (Drewes)
– Many children learn through hands-on activities and
movement (Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences)
Support for Play Therapy
in the Schools (cont.)
• Play therapy matches with Piaget’s theory of
cognitive development (Ray et. Al, 2005)
– Preoperational stage (ages 2-7): language skills are not
as developed as internal awareness
– Concrete Operations Stage (ages 8-11): limits in
abstract reasoning- play helps bridge gap between
concrete experience and abstract thought
• Practical applications in the school
– Play therapy can be used to assist in IEPs to inform
classroom observations and social-emotional analysis
Challenges Related to Play
Therapy in the Schools
• Lack of time available with students in a school
setting (Ray et. Al., 2005)
– Efficacy even greater when parents are involved and the
number of sessions ranges from 30-35 (Leblanc &
Ritchie, 2001)
• Lack of training in play therapy for school
counselors (Ray et. Al., 2005)
• Cost of play materials (Drewes)
• Non-traditional: need to advocate for it- use
research and concrete explanation (Drewes)
Solution Focused Brief
Therapy-Play Therapy
Play therapy techniques for
client goal
miracle question
relationship question
– scaling
– unfinished business
– message
Play Therapy Activity