Becoming and Being A Play Therapist Book
For those of you who are not yet a Play Therapist, the first port of call for you might be to read our book, Becoming and Being A Play Therapist, available from online bookshops.
Becoming and Being a Play Therapist: Play Therapy in Practice presents a rich and illuminating account of current play therapy practice, with an emphasis on becoming and being a play therapist and on some of the varied clinical contexts in which play therapists work. Written by members of British Association of Play Therapists, this book highlights the current complexity of play therapy practice in the UK and reflects the expertise of the collected authors in working with emotional, behavioural and mental health challenges in children and young people.
Divided into three parts, the book is designed to build on and consolidate the principles and professional/personal competences of play therapy practice. Key topics include:
- Training and establishing oneself as a play therapist in the UK, a comprehensive guide.
- The improvisational practitioner; therapist responses to resistance and aggressive play.
- Systemic considerations in play therapy with birth families and adopters; advantages and challenges.
- Case-study based explorations of play therapy across a range of service user groups, including childhood trauma, bereavement and sexual abuse, and agency contexts, including school and CAMHS settings.
Becoming and Being a Play Therapist will be relevant both for play therapy trainees and for qualified play therapists as well as for related professionals.
This book literally takes you on the journey from applying and studying to becoming a Play Therapist and then onto discussions about themes you will need to consider in your professional practice.
Journal of Play Therapy
The British Journal of Play Therapy is published annually by the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT), is available free to all BAPT Full & Student members, and is purchased by libraries, organisations and individual subscribers worldwide.
The journal encourages contributions from a variety of research traditions. The British Journal of Play Therapy is pluralist in orientation, recognising the value of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method strategies of inquiry.
Play Therapy is an activity which constitutes a specialist domain of practice, and also functions as an adjunct to other occupational roles (for example in health, social services and education). The British Journal of Play Therapy carries papers that are of interest not only to members of BAPT, but also to members of other occupational groups using therapeutic play skills. The journal seeks to be relevant both to a core disciplinary constituency and also a broader interdisciplinary readership.
Scope of Journal
The British Journal of Play Therapy is a national journal with a focus on the theoretical and research aspects of Play Therapy practice. The British Journal of Play Therapy is pluralist in orientation, recognising the value of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method strategies of inquiry and encouraging contributions from a variety of research traditions. Its aim is to bring together the different theoretical and professional disciplines involved in play therapy and to provide information and ideas about the complete spectrum of clinical interventions used in play therapy. This pluralism is reflected in the composition of the Editorial Board.
The British Journal of Play Therapy publishes papers which make an impact on the theory and practice of Play Therapy. In the British Journal of Play Therapy, papers are written for practitioners, related practitioners and those whose work shapes practice (e.g. policy-makers, supervisors, managers etc). Submissions are welcomed from all relevant professional backgrounds.
The British Journal of Play Therapy is concerned to develop a specific genre of research writing that encompasses the validity, plausibility, ethics and clarity espoused by existing research journals, but which also emphasises practical relevance.
How to submit an article to the British Journal of Play Therapy
For instructions on how to submit a article to the British Journal of Play Therapy, please review our submission requirements and procedures.
British Journal of Play Therapy Abstracts
If you wish to order a copy of the British Journal of Play Therapy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you are already a BAPT member, these can be downloaded from the BAPT Journals page in the members area.
- Storytelling and its application in non directive play therapy (D. Hutton)
- Play Therapy with Looked After Children: An Attachment Perspective (K. Robson and A. Tooby)
- Play Therapists and the Children’s Rights Movement (J. Carroll)
- ‘My new mum’. How drawing can help children rework their internal models of attachment relationships in non-directive play therapy (V. Ryan)
- Transforming Therapy into Research. Is it possible to conduct research that investigates the process of play therapy without affecting the delicate balance of the relationship between the child and therapist, which is central to the therapy? (C. Daniel-McKeigue)
- Non-Directive Play Therapy: Should we and can we attempt to measure its effectiveness? (A. S. Naylor)
- Taboos in Child & Family Psychiatry. Taboos, secrets and shame. (Dr Ann Cattanach, Hitesh Raval)
- The contribution made by Play Therapy to a child suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Mary Carden)
- Psychological Treatment Within Relationship: Attachment and Intersubjectivity (Dan Hughes)
- Filial Therapy, parental separation, and school refusal: a case study using an attachment perspective (Nina Rye)
- Narrative Play Therapy: A Collaborative Approach (Ann Cattanach)
- Attachment Theory and Play Therapy: Linking Theory with Practice (Brenda Meldrum)
The use of Sandplay with Children
Psychotherapist & Sandtray Therapist
In this paper I have given a brief description of Sandplay as it was first conceived by the Swiss psychotherapist, Dora Kalff. Sandplay is used with wonderful results with both adults and children. I attempt to convey how the unconscious can, without interference from the conscious mind, lead towards what Jung referred to as ‘the self healing of the psyche’ within a sandplay process. This process is enabled within the therapeutic relationship and what Kalff referred to as ‘the free and protected space’ of the sand tray itself. I have tried to illustrate this process by describing the therapy of a three-and-a-half year old boy who created fourteen sand trays. Through his ‘play’ in the sand he was able to mourn for the father he had lost and to reconnect with his own internal father. The process led from a state of fragmentation to one of integration, and this coincided with a leap in his development in his outer life.
Theraplay ®: An Introduction
David L Myrow
Buffalo, New York, USA
This article introduces Theraplay®, a therapeutic model that is becoming increasingly known for its focus on promoting parent-child attachment. First developed in America, Theraplay is currently being used in at least eleven countries and in a wide variety of settings including schools, mental health clinics, private practice speech and language therapy agencies and residential treatment facilities. Theraplay differs from Child Centred or Non-Directive approaches in that it is therapist-directed, includes physical contact, involves parents in the process whenever possible and is intended to be fun. This brief overview reviews the history of Theraplay, the principles that guide it, its theoretical foundation in Object Relations and Attachment Theory (now supported by recent findings in neurobiology) and notes recent scientific research that strongly supports its efficacy. Illustrations are given from clinical practice.
Keywords: Theraplay, play therapy, attachment, research, depression in children, attention deficit, selective mutism, oppositional defiance, autistic spectrum, divorce.
Playing in the field of research: Creating a bespoke methodology to investigate play therapy practice
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK and Liverpool Hope University
There is limited research available within the field of play therapy to draw upon when formulating a research investigation. The author suggests that it is advisable to consult the development of research design within the wider field of the arts therapies. It is acknowledged that quantitative methods have earned respect as credible approaches to research within this genre. Alternatively it is recognised that a qualitative approach may be efficacious for certain investigations within the creative arts therapies. The particular benefits of working within a qualitative paradigm are explored: the affinity with the therapeutic medium; the utilisation of the therapist’s own skills; the opportunity to use a combination of approaches within the design; the concept of bricolage; the ability to triangulate data and the more complex concept of crystallisation. The application of these principles is applied to the author’s own investigation which uses a heuristic framework to discover more about the nature of change within play therapy. In the spirit of heuristic research the author invites readers to respond to the ideas within this paper and would welcome correspondence via letter or email.
Keywords: arts therapies, heuristic, methodology, play therapy, qualitative research, researcher-practitioner, art-based, arts-based.
Play Therapy with Child Survivor of the Tsunami: A Case Study
Leong Min See
Bureau on Learning Difficulties, Penang, Malaysia
This presentation aims to provide a case example of how play therapy can provide an effective therapeutic intervention for trauma experienced by child survivors of natural disasters. It illustrates how play therapy can assist psychological recovery. It describes the author’s work with a nine-year-old girl who experienced the tsunami of 2004 and saw her sister swept away.
Keywords: Non-directive play therapy, tsunami, trauma
The Ethics of Researching Children in Non-Directive Play Therapy
School of Education, Liverpool John Moores University
This paper brings together various theoretical standpoints to highlight the key issues in research with children engaged in therapy and the complexities this can involve. Children’s rights, power dynamics and their impact on the research process can be understood within discourses of childhood. Trust between the child and therapist/researcher is a further dynamic as well as issues of informed consent, gatekeepers, confidentiality and the possible impact on the intervention. Whilst research into the process of Non-directive Play therapy is important, this needs to be understood and acknowledged within a multi-faceted child-centred framework.
Keywords: Non-directive play therapy, ethics, children.
The Five Story Self Structure: A new therapeutic method on the Communicube
John Casson, PhD
Dramatherapist (HPC reg), Psychodrama Psychotherapist (UKCP reg), Supervisor, Senior Trainer
This paper introduces the concept of the Communicube and the Communiwell, two structures that have been developed as communication tools for the 21st century. It presents a therapeutic method of using these tools, the Five Story Self Structure. Information is provided on the origin, design and theory. In order to demonstrate the flexibility of the tool brief examples of practice with adults are given followed by more detailed accounts of work conducted by dramatherapists with school age children in Britain and France.
Look, up in the sky! Using superheroes in play therapy
Lawrence Rubin & Harry Livesay
USA [reprinted with permission of the Association of Play Therapy – first published in International Journal of Play Therapy 15 (1), 2006]
Fantasy and fantasy play are key elements in healthy child development and, as such, are potentially important resources for play therapy. The multi-media genre of superhero mythology has long provided children (and adults) with rich fantasies serving a number of important developmental functions, including emotional release, a sense of power, instillation of hope, a resource for problem-solving and identity formation. Whether Captain America, Superman, Spiderman, the Justice League of America, X-Men or Powerpuff Girls these mythological figures have flown from the pages of comics, television and the silver screen into the imaginations and play of generations of children. Considering their ubiquity in popular children’s culture, a paucity of research or clinical literature has addressed the incorporation of superheroes into child counselling and play therapy. The purpose of this article is to first describe the relationship between fantasy, superhero mythology and play therapy and to then provide examples from clinical practice.
Play Therapists’ perspective of change in play therapy: Five poetic portraits
Manchester Metropolitan University and Liverpool Hope University
Five poems portray the perspectives of play therapists reflecting on the nature of change within the play therapy dynamic. As part of a study to investigate this phenomenon play therapists, who were engaged as co-researchers, were interviewed and requested to maintain a journal of subsequent observations within their practice. The use of poetry to represent the data emerged during the course of the analysis of the data when the principles of heuristic inquiry (Moustakas 1990) were applied. The process of working creatively with the data is summarised. The issue of whether the poetic depictions of the data have validity beyond the co-researcher whose data they aim to represent is explored. Limitations of the heuristic approach are explored and modifications suggested. Recommendations are made that further dissemination is required to establish how authentic these representations are and how widely they can be applied. In the spirit of qualitative inquiry I, the primary investigator, will refer to myself using the first person.
Key words: heuristic, qualitative, poetry, data analysis, change, co-researchers
The Play Therapist as a mirror
Independent Play Therapist, Devon
This paper explores the metaphor of a mirror as proposed by Donald Winnicott in relation to the child’s early development with the primary carer and in its application to the therapeutic process with the play therapist. I will look at the effect upon the evolving child’s sense of self when the primary mirroring process is undistorted and when it is distorted and how the play therapist might create the conditions necessary to allow the child to reconnect to their true self so that they might exist and feel real.
Key words: mirror metaphor, continuity of being, reflection, child-centred play therapy
Assessing families for Filial Therapy
Nina Rye & Jessica Jager
Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services, Norfolk (Rye) & East Sussex (Jager)
The assessment of children and parents prior to filial therapy is an integral part of the process but has received comparatively little attention. An exploratory study by the second author indicated that some therapists were not including a dynamic or play-based assessment. The authors advocate the use of a family play observation. They argue that the information gained enhances the therapist’s understanding of the family dynamics and the therapist’s ability to meet the family’s needs. They describe and discuss the use of a family play observation using case material.
Key words: Filial therapy, assessment, family, family dynamics, play observation
Integrative work with children in long-term placements
Notre Dame Centre, Glasgow
This article explores the use of a range of therapeutic approaches that may be used with children who have been subject to trauma and loss. The importance of working with families is emphasised when the central means of responding to a child’s condition involves strengthening or building new attachment relationships as a primary resource.
Key words: children, therapy, attachment, trauma, Theraplay, Filial Therapy, DDP
Is there a rationale, in terms of current knowledge and research, for the use of Non-Directive Play Therapy with non-verbal autistic children?
Camphill Rudolf Steiner Schools (children with special needs), Aberdeen
This article looks for research evidence of the rationale for the use of NDPT (Non-Directive Play Therapy) with children with autism. Current research on autism is reviewed, concluding that the area of research that offers a stronger rationale for the use of NDPT with these children is the area of the early indicators of autism in infancy and early childhood. Joint attention and imitation are the main targets of this research and NDPT, by its very nature, is well suited to address these. Exploratory research in the use of NDPT, although sparse, is encouraging. More research on NDPT and autism is urgently needed.
Key words: Autism, non-directive play therapy
Developmental science looks at play therapy
Dr. Jim Geidner
University of Wisconsin, USA
Numerous qualitative and quantitative review studies have found interventions using play therapy to have moderate to large effect sizes. The data, however, has not been organised in such a manner to provide useful information about clinical practice. Rather than focus on the outcome of play therapy, these reviews will be examined with an emphasis on developmental and clinical processes gleaned from published research. An explanation of how play therapy is effective, and a case study example, will then be presented. An argument for moving the field towards Micro-analytic process studies, as opposed to Macro-analytic outcome studies is strongly encouraged.
Key words: Play therapy, developmental science, language development, transformation
pp18 – 34
The therapeutic needs of children with autism: A framework for partners in non-directive play
I discuss the potential role of non-directive play therapy for autistic children, describing a place for therapy within the contexts of education and early intervention. The difficulties faced by autistic children when accessing free-flowing play are explored. The suggestion is made that we, as potential partners-in-play, need to change our behaviour and expectations to address these difficulties and meet each individual child’s needs. The framework of this article is to support us in these challenges. In the first section (Autism Unfolding) I map out some of what we know about autism and development, isolating the potential therapeutic needs of autistic children. I look at the possible causes of autism. I then discuss the emotional, inter-subjective disturbances that constitute the ‘core’ of autism common across the whole spectrum of disorder. Next I examine the early behavioural signs of autism and pinpoint focus areas for potential inter-subjective intervention. I then explore what we know about autism and attachment, and ask: how can autistic children develop secure attachments to their primary caregivers when their ability to engage with others is so impaired? In seeking an answer I develop some new tools for thought – in particular the differentiated concepts, subjective containment and inter-subjective containment, along with the idea of an attachment contradiction for children with autism. Finally, in this first section, I look at the secondary defensive behaviours employed by autistic children. I then provide a condensed summary under the heading: Making play therapeutic for autistic children – What is our role as a partner-in-play? The last section (The Potential of Non-Directive Play) challenges the existing theoretical explanations of the difficulties faced by autistic children when accessing play and provides an alternative model. I explore the potential for non-directive play therapy to support autistic children in transformative play experiences. Lastly, I take a look at the existing research concerning the use of non-directive play therapy with autistic children.
Key words: Autism, non-directive play therapy, attachment, attachment insecurity
“I evolved too early”: Using non-directive play therapy with William – an autistic boy with attachment insecurity
A case study is presented, examining my work using non-directive play therapy (NDPT) with a child I will call William, a nine-year-old boy with autism. Initial assessment tools, direct therapeutic work, and work with parents are all documented and discussed. Particular focus is given to the co-occurrence of autism and family relationships defined by significant attachment insecurity. NDPT is able to support William to experience a containing therapeutic alliance, to regress and redress the absence of intimate game play which was absent in his early life, to develop his ability to self-regulate energy levels and emotions, and to integrate his new experiences of trust into his current sense of self and relationship. In addition, NDPT clearly facilitates the emergence of William’s previously limited symbolic play abilities.
Key words: Autism, non-directive play therapy, attachment, attachment insecurity, working with parents
Working with Asian families in Theraplay: Understanding cultural differences*
Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S
The Astor Home for Children, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA
*The basis of this article was originally published in German for the Theraplay/Schwierige Kinder Journal, NR. 39, 2006, pp. 17-19, entitled “Asiatische Familien bei Theraplay: Kulturelle Unterschiede Verstehen”.
Theraplay relies heavily on parent-child touch and engagement. It is important for play therapists to understand its impact and interplay on the unique cultural beliefs and customs of their Asian clients. This article offers a brief overview of Theraplay, along with highlights of Asian cultural beliefs and customs which can significantly affect the treatment process. The reader is encouraged to ask the client directly about their personal views toward therapy, play and parent-child interactions. In addition, supervision is encouraged to help the therapist balance their own cultural background and biases when working with clients of other diverse cultural backgrounds.
Key words: Asian, Theraplay, cultural sensitivity, play, play therapy
Sibling therapeutic play: A creative approach to working with families
This piece gives an account of how an intervention evolved which provided play sessions for children within the same family. The four basic skills of filial therapy along with weekly half-hour play sessions, with limits and structures from the Filial Training Programme are the foundation of this new group co-facilitated intervention. Attachment theory and child developmental theory serve to guide its practical implementation. The aim of each case example illustrates how siblings can experience therapeutic play together as a holding experience as a prelude to individual play therapy and/or filial therapy. In each case example two facilitators have been pivotal to the therapeutic play sessions. Client evaluation indicates that the intervention has been effective in meeting the needs of clients.
Key words: Play therapy, filial therapy, co-facilitation, attachment theory, sibling groups, parental involvement
pp 60 – 68
How many triangles have you noticed in your playroom?
This piece explores the nature of therapeutic space by using mathematical principles to explore the conditions needed to create a space. The mathematical properties of triangles are compared to the nature of relationship triangles. How triangles are used in the physical world to map positions and relationships is applied to psychic reality. The benefits and the difficulties of working with triangles are explored. The therapeutic space, the therapeutic relationship and the internal therapeutic process are considered in the light of the need for three points of reference to create and enclose any space.
Key words: Triangle, space, therapeutic
PROVIDING THERAPEUTIC PLAY FOR THE WHOLE SCHOOL:
AN UNDERTAKING OF ‘EPIC’ PROPORTIONS
Everyone Playing in Class is a school-based group intervention. It uses the Filial Therapy Programme to train significant adults to provide a psycho-educational intervention for supporting children with social and emotional difficulties. School staff and play therapist provide structured weekly non-directive play sessions. The aim of the project is to strengthen the teacher-pupil relationship. Pupils are provided with opportunities for making sense of their world and the teacher is supported to better understand and respond to the pupils in her care. The piece describes the intervention and illustrates it through a case study of one group. The group experience is evaluated and both pupil and teacher experience is explored.
Key Words: therapeutic play, emotional wellbeing in schools, filial therapy, attachment, group work
A SYSTEM TO ANALYSE A CHILD’S RESILIENCE FROM THEIR INDIVIDUAL PLAY THERAPY
This article describes how the May Analysis Play Therapy System (MAPTS) can be used to analyse the themes that emerge from a play therapy session in relation to a child’s resilience (self-esteem, self-efficacy and problem-solving skills). The MAPTS also provides a means to manage the thematic data, which can be presented in written reports for the child’s parents, carers and other interested professionals. This helps them to focus on the child’s strengths and areas for development in order to meet the child’s needs in a holistic way. The MAPTS was originally developed from my research study for a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Play Therapy at the University of Roehampton, London in 2002. The twelve week study used qualitative research within a case study framework, which included two children: a girl aged ten years and a boy aged seven years. The aim of the study was to assess whether the three resilience factors had been enhanced or developed over the time period specified. I have included an extract from this study to explain how the MAPTS is used to identify and analyse the existence of the three resilience factors. I was the sole practitioner/researcher for this study.
Key Words: themes, resilience, self-esteem, self-efficacy, problem-solving skills, MAPTS.
THEORIES OF PLAY AND AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER
How can theories of play help our understanding of play in children with autistic spectrum disorder?
This article examines theories of play and applies them to children with autistic spectrum disorder in order conceptualise how they experience play. The stages of play are presented along with the view that children on the spectrum do not necessarily fit into any specific play stage at a given time, but instead may exhibit play behaviours that belong to multiple stages. Children with autistic spectrum disorder do not necessarily follow a linear play progression and their compromised sensory systems play a large role in preventing them from achieving various developmental “play” milestones. Two case studies are provided to highlight the possibilities for play in even the most challenging of situations.
Key Words: autistic spectrum disorder; play; theories of play; early intervention; sensory integration
A PLAY THERAPY INTERVENTION WITH A CHILD DIAGNOSED ON THE AUTISTIC SPECTRUM WHO PRESENTED WITH SELF HARMING BEHAVIOURS
This case study describes the process of an intervention using mainly child-centred play therapy and filial therapy combined with a story making narrative. The case relates to Lisa, a 10 year old girl in foster care, with a diagnosis of autistic spectrum features alongside a learning difficulty and a lack of verbal fluency. Lisa was referred due to an increase in what appeared to be stress-related symptoms and self-harming behaviour.
The goals of the therapy were to help Lisa learn to play; to relieve symptoms and help her communicate whatever traumatic experience had caused her to become anxious, whilst also promoting the foster parents’ crucial role in her recovery. The case material illustrates the usefulness of the play therapist providing some initial structure for the play as a vehicle for helping to understand the child’s experience.
A further aim of the intervention was to assist the court and various professionals to gain an understanding of what might be troubling Lisa. The case highlights the importance of facilitating an appropriate insight into what is causing a child’s distress. The conclusion is that Play Therapy can be a viable and effective approach for understanding and working with a child on the autistic spectrum.
Key Words: Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Child Centred Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Secure Base, Working with foster parent.
THE CASE FOR USING ANIMAL ASSISTED PLAY THERAPY
Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center, Pennsylvania, USA
Turn About Pegasus Programme, Northumberland, England
Child development research has clearly established the importance of animals in children’s lives. Neurobiology has shown that the production of oxytocin in humans is stimulated by interactions with animals, creating the potential for greater relaxation and increased empathy and engagement. The biological and psychosocial benefits of family companion animals have been well documented. Driven by current multidisciplinary theory and research, this article explores the similarities, compatibility, and integration of the fields of Play Therapy and Animal Assisted Therapy for children, adolescents, and families. The rationale, basic principles, goal areas, and methods of Animal Assisted Play Therapy are presented, with information about existing research and resources.
Key Words: Animal-assisted play therapy, canine therapy, equine therapy
CHILDCARE PRACTITIONERS’ KNOWLEDGE AND PERCEPTIONS OF PLAY THERAPY
Gemma Clack, Kevin Crowley, Lisa Waycott, Jane Prince & Nicola Birdsey
University of Glamorgan, Wales
This study investigated the awareness of play therapy in childcare practitioners working in the areas of health, social care, education and childcare. Questionnaires were distributed to 65 workers drawn from these occupational categories in order to investigate their understanding of issues such as the nature of play therapy, the referral process, and the distinction between play therapy and other forms of play based interventions. In addition, one child care professional from each of the four sectors was selected to take part in a follow-up interview to build on the information generated from the questionnaires. The results from the questionnaires and follow-up interviews showed that while most of the child care professionals had heard of this approach, they had a limited knowledge of the nature of play therapy. There was also much confusion amongst the child care professionals around the difference between play therapy and other play based interventions as well as around different professionals’ roles and responsibilities for referring children and young people to therapeutic interventions. The implications of these findings for the practice of play therapy are considered.
Key words: Play therapy, childcare practitioners, awareness, knowledge, perceptions.
NEURO-DRAMATIC-PLAY AND ATTACHMENT
Dr Sue Jennings
Neuro-Dramatic-Play is a new synthesis of recent neuroscientific discoveries, play therapy and dramatherapy practice, and current thinking on childhood attachment. Neuro-Dramatic-Play is focussed on the 6 months before and the 6 months after birth, and the development of secure attachments. In the early playfulness between mother and infant, the sensory, rhythmic and dramatic play form the basis of playful attachment and contribute to the growth of secure identity, the capacity for empathy and healthy social relationships.
Neuro-Dramatic-Play (NDP) is described as preceding the developmental paradigm of Embodiment-Projection-Role (EPR) that charts the infant’s dramatic development between birth and seven years. Building on NDP and EPR, it can be shown that appropriate play therapy and dramatherapy interventions can be planned in order to focus on the specific attachment and emotional needs of the child. Once these stages have been successfully navigated, then a third stage becomes possible, namely Theatre of Resilience (ToR), through which a child is able to contribute to and learn from their own culture, including theatre, ritual and stories.
This essay focuses primarily on Neuro-Dramatic-Play and its application as assessment and therapy with children who are troubled, lost and unhappy. It is still work in progress.
Key words: Embodiment-Projection-Role, attachment, brain development, sensory, rhythmic and dramatic play, resilience
CHILDREN’S PARTICIPATION IN THE THERAPY PROCESS: A CHILD’S PERSPECTIVE
CAMHS East Sussex, England
Non-directive play therapy uses the child’s language of play to facilitate their expression and enable the child’s voice to come to the fore. Recently there has been renewed interest in children’s views of the therapy process itself, both in play therapy and wider afield. However, there has been little detailed exploration of children’s participation in the play therapy process and their views on their involvement in the decision making processes. This study aimed to capture children’s views of their involvement in the non-directive play therapy process using meaningful evaluation methods. Seven non-directive play therapists trained by the author in play-based evaluation techniques undertook qualitative evaluation interviews with twenty children (aged 5-13 years). A thematic analysis of these video-taped sessions revealed that children often appreciated the preparation provided by play therapists at their initial meetings. They commented on the non-verbal means of communication which the therapist brought to the meetings to familiarise the child with the therapy process. However, several children shared a lack of knowledge about progress/review meetings held about the therapy process. Some children had strong views about being included. The implications for play therapy practice are explored and a case example from the author’s own clinical practice is presented.
Key words: Play Therapy, children’s views, play-based evaluation, involvement, reviews, participation, children’s rights
BRIEF PLAY THERAPY TRAINING ACROSS KENYA FOR PROFESSIONAL COUNSELLORS
The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
This paper evaluates the perceived benefit of brief Child-centred play therapy training to 32 caring professionals across Kenya in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa. It follows and replicates a previous study evaluating the perceived benefit to a group of caring professionals with counselling qualifications of a brief training in Child-centred play therapy in Nairobi (Hunt, 2006). The counsellor participants, 29 female and 3 male representing 9 tribes and 5 non-tribal groups, were predominantly Christian with a few Muslims. The mean average age was 36 years with a mean average of 9 years of experience in the caring professions. Teaching methods included theory presentations; case presentations, practical skills demonstration and tuition with feedback and self- awareness group work. Questionnaires provided quantitative and qualitative data. Key findings were prevalent pre-training feelings of inadequacy to meet the therapeutic needs of vulnerable children using adult style counselling methods and post perceived benefits of training including a perceived increase in therapeutic skills, therapeutic power of play and a positive influence on professional lives, regardless of tribal, religious or geographical differences in the cohorts. There was an unexpected finding of reported prevalent child abuse in all three regions.
Key words: Brief Child-centred Play Therapy Programme, Kenya,
DOMESTIC ABUSE: COLLATERAL DAMAGE- COLLATERAL TREATMENT
Linda St Louis
At the centre of play therapy is the evolving relationship between the child and the therapist. It is this relationship which enables the child to grow, address traumatic events, learn new skills and re-evaluate self-concept. Children who experience domestic abuse are exposed to significant traumatic events which impact on their mental and physical day to day functioning. Parents, predominantly mothers,experience the same traumatic events which give rise to disrupted and disorganised patterns of attachment. The involvement of parents in play therapy is often in a peripheral role. This case study explores the impact on the mother-child relationship after completion of play therapy with a parent which incorporated non-directive and directive approaches and the delivery of a separate non-directive play therapy intervention with her son.
Key words: Play therapy, culture, domestic abuse, trauma, attachment, parental involvement
THE USE OF AGGRESSIVE-RELEASE TOYS IN NON-DIRECTIVE PLAY THERAPY: IS THERE ANY IMPACT ON CHILDREN’S AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR?
In recent years there has been a strong controversy among play therapists regarding the necessity or not of aggressive toys in play therapy. Using a survey-based research method questionnaire it was possible to investigate play therapists’ perceptions on the use, role and effect of aggressive-release toys, and whether such toys have any negative impact on children’s aggressive behavior when provided in a play therapy setting. As a result, it was demonstrated that play therapists believe aggressive toys could have a positive impact on the cathartic release of aggressive emotions, in support of the catharsis hypothesis, while other factors may contribute to the cathartic effect as well.
Keywords: Aggressive-release toys, play therapy, aggressive behaviour, catharsis.
PIVOTAL MOMENTS OF CHANGE IN EXPRESSIVE THERAPY WITH CHILDREN
Taranaki District Health Board, New Zealand
This paper focuses on pivotal moments of change in expressive therapy with young children. While there has been interest in studying the changes that result from play therapy, many of these studies have been conducted using group quantitative data. There is a gap in understanding change during specific moments. Literature concerning moments of change both in and out of therapy and with children was reviewed. A small number of experienced expressive therapists from diverse contexts were asked to provide retrospective descriptions of case examples from their work in which a child they were seeing changed dramatically for the better. A general sequence of how these moments developed was identified and used to examine the common elements among them. The common elements of these examples included a therapist creative response to a child’s novel action, a sharing of positive feelings among the players, and the mutual development of an expressive metaphor that represented a new interpersonal state. These observations are used to suggest further research.
Keywords: Play therapy, dance therapy, expressive therapy, moments of change, family therapy and young children
EXPLORING THE ART OF THE RELATIONSHIP:
AN INTERVIEW WITH GARRY LANDRETH
Natalya A. Lindo
University of North Texas, USA
Garry Landreth is nationally and internationally known for his significant contributions to the development of play therapy. His extensive work in group counselling, play therapy and filial therapy have resulted in more than 150 publications and videos. Landreth is also a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Play Therapy, and founder and former Director of the Center for Play Therapy, the largest play therapy training programme in the world. In this exclusive interview with one of his former colleagues, following his recent retirement, Landreth outlines his personal and professional journey through the play therapy world and beyond.
Keywords: Play therapy, filial therapy, group counselling
‘LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING’:
IN PLAY THERAPY, HOW CAN THE INITIAL REACTIONS OF BOTH THE CHILD AND THERAPIST IN THE BEGINNING PLAY HELP US FURTHER OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHILD AND OF THE RESPONSIVENESS OF THE THERAPIST?
This paper looks at clinical material gathered at the very beginning of a play therapy intervention. Play therapy literature that focuses on the beginning phase of play therapy is examined and then some clinical vignettes from beginnings of therapy are presented. These examples include the initial reactions of the child and the response of the therapist and from this the author develops what he refers to as continua of understanding in order to examine these experiences. There is some reflection about how these continua might be used to develop greater understanding of the child and how therapists may reflect on their practice by using this framework.
Key words: Play therapy, Children, Beginnings, Relationship and Expressive Continua
WHAT USE IS FOOTBALL INSIDE THE NDPT PLAYROOM?
This study investigates how football functions as a process in the context of a non-directive play therapy (NDPT) intervention; there is a particular focus on the therapeutic relationship. NDPT practitioners’ views were sought through an on-line questionnaire followed up by a selected sample of interviews. The research objectives were: to discover how football play manifests in the NDPT playroom; how therapists perceive the value of football play; to explore the role that football plays in the therapeutic relationship, and the therapist’s own relationship with football. The findings show that football is a popular activity in the playroom, particularly amongst boys. Participants saw the role of football in facilitating the play therapy relationship as especially valuable and identified competition, confidence and competence as the play’s most significant themes; however, it appears that children use the medium of football to express a range of needs. This study addresses the ambivalence felt towards game play as a therapeutic medium and the challenges it may pose for the therapist. It asks that football play be given more consideration in both play therapy literature and training.
Key Words: Football; play therapy; games; relationship; process
PLAYFUL PRACTICE IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH:
FINDING WAYS TO EVALUATE THE IMPACT OF SERVICES FOR CARE LEAVERS WITH MILD TO MODERATE LEARNING DISABILITY
Leeds Trinity University College, England
Leeds Metropolitan University, England
This article describes the methodological processes and the outcomes of an evaluation study concerning young people identified as having mild to moderate learning difficulties. They were resident in a community-based shared house being run by a voluntary sector organisation and were being prepared for, or had just commenced, independent living. The researchers wanted to ensure that the views of the young people were fully captured, that they were empowered by taking part in the process and subsequently felt more able to express their views about the services they receive. The particular needs of the young people, age 15-18, meant that a standardised qualitative research method might not have sufficiently engaged the young people. This article reports on how a structured play approach was used to ensure the active involvement of the young people in the study. Play was an effective means of ensuring that these participants consistently developed a shared understanding of meaning, including giving informed ethical consent. The young people are typically identified as being ‘hard to engage’ and this approach reflected the pace and style of their own communication. The complex issues raised both in the processes and outcomes are discussed, including ethical dilemmas for the researchers, arising from the play based interviews.
Key words: Structured play, Learning disability, Care leavers
‘I’M NOT SUCH A STRANGE CREATURE AFTER ALL’
HOW EXPERIENCED PLAY THERAPISTS VIEW THEIR PERSONAL THERAPY:
PART OF AN INTERPRETATIVE PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY
The British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) requires trainees to undergo personal therapy and encourages personal therapy as part of continuing professional development. Currently, BAPT play therapists are working towards voluntary government registration of their profession and this is eliciting discussions with other play therapy bodies. The practice of personal therapy during training and after qualification is a topic within this dialogue. While there is a growing body of research into the impact of personal therapy on therapists in general, no previous study has been carried out to investigate the phenomenon as viewed by play therapists. The qualitative methodology employed in this project was interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results were gathered from data collected from four play therapists, and two of the three master themes are discussed. The analysis of transcripts suggests that play therapists gain lasting benefits from their personal therapy. Participants showed diverse views regarding their degree of openness about personal therapy and their attitude towards it as an ongoing practice. Results are linked to extant literature and are placed within the theoretical framework currently being formed by similar studies of therapists of all disciplines. Implications for training and professional practice are given and proposals for further research are suggested.
Keywords: personal therapy, play therapist, training, BAPT, IPA, interview
THE ELECTRONIC ANGER METER (EAM):
A DEVICE FOR GAUGING CHILD ANGER
Donald C Mattson
Superior Pediatrics and Dial Help Counseling Center, Michigan, USA
Aside from traditional anger level charts, no interactive means for children to display anger levels appears to exist. Three children (two male, one female), between the ages of 6 and 8 years presenting with anger issues, participated in a U.S. based study to determine the functionality of an electronic anger meter (EAM) during regularly held play therapy sessions. A manual outlined the use of the device in the context of the Acknowledge a feeling, Communicate a limit, Target an alternative behaviour (ACT) model (Landreth & Bratton, 2006). The EAM is a hand-held apparatus that illuminates with each level of anger that the child dials in following standard directives. A mixed methods research design yielded prominent responses from content analysis of a standardised, open-ended interview while the therapist recorded observational data in field note format. Results indicate that the EAM requires minor alteration and holds potential as an adjunctive tool in managing child anger.
Key words: ACT model, anger, assessment, electronic toys, play therapy
EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF INTENSIVE SUPERVISION ON CHILD-CENTRED PLAY THERAPY TRAINING
Kristin K. Meany-Walen,
University of Northern Iowa, USA
Natalya A. Lindo,
Erin Turley, Chiao-Feng Chung, Sinem Akay, Yi Ju Cheng and Szu Yu Chen
University of North Texas, USA
Leaders in the field of play therapy have expressed concern regarding the quality of training received by the growing number of play therapists, and voiced support for expanding the availability of quality training in established play therapy procedures (Bratton, Ray, & Landreth, 2010; Kottman, 2011; Kranz, Lund, & Kottman, 1996; Kao & Landreth, 1997; Landreth, 2012; Ray, 2011). Intensive Supervision Experience (ISE) was developed to address these concerns. ISE is a four-day rigorous supervision model designed to optimise the training experience and infuse Child-Centred Play Therapy concepts and skills into supervised practice. Using a mixed-methodological design, we investigated the effects of the ISE on practicing play therapists. Specifically, we evaluated the degree to which the ISE facilitated change in the participants’ attitude, knowledge, and skills related to play therapy and the participants’ perceptions of this change. Quantitative results indicated statistical significance and a large treatment effect for all subscales. Qualitative analysis revealed participants’ acceptance and perceived positive impact of the ISE. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are provided.
Key words: play therapy, supervision, counselling, child-centred play therapy, mixed-methods research
SHOULD A CHILD BE PERMITTED TO USE THE “N” WORD AS A SLUR DIRECTED AT THE THERAPIST IN CHILD-CENTRED PLAY THERAPY?
Robert F. Scuka
National Institute of Relationship Enhancement®, Maryland, USA
This article explores whether it is permissible for a therapist using the Child-Centred Play Therapy (CCPT) method to ever place a limit on a child’s use of a derogatory name directed at the therapist, and whether the placing of such a limit on the child’s self-expression would be consistent with the core principles of CCPT. By examining this question in the context of two core CCPT principles derived from the work of Virginia Axline, as well as Louise Guerney’s application of those core principles to children’s actual play sessions, the author concludes that it indeed is permissible to place such a limit on a child’s use of a derogatory name directed at the therapist, and that the therapist placing such a limit on a child’s self-expression would be consistent with the core principles of CCPT. The analysis also illustrates, through hypothetical play room scenarios, how the therapist’s use of empathy and acceptance, both prior to and in conjunction with the setting of a limit, could decrease the need for the therapist to set such a limit and/or increase the likelihood of the child’s adhering to the limit once it has been stated.
Key Words: Child-Centred play therapy, empathy, acceptance, self-expression, limit setting
CHILD PARENT RELATIONSHIP THERAPY: A MODEL FOR PREADOLESCENTS
Kristin K. Meany-Walen
University of Northern Iowa, USA
Kara Carnes Holt
University of Wyoming, USA
Peggy Ceballos & Emily Michero
University of North Texas, USA
Despite the need for independence that characterises the preadolescent stage, preadolescents’ healthy development relies strongly on the security of their relationship with their parents (Jacobs & Bleeker, 2003; Papalia, 2007). This article proposes a model of Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) that can be used with parents of preadolescents, ages 9-13. The authors provide an overview of the importance of the parent-child relationship for preadolescents; key developmental components; and propose specific modifications for each of the 10 CPRT sessions.
Keywords: child-parent relationship therapy, preadolescents, filial
FILIAL PLAY WITH SOCIALLY EXCLUDED IRISH FAMILIES: EFFICACY AND BARRIERS TO INTERVENTION
Cóilín Ó Braonáin & Claire W. Lyons
Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland
A pilot study was conducted to ascertain if cultural differences would impede the efficacy of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) with Irish socially and economically disadvantaged parents (Landreth & Bratton, 2006). The authors hypothesised that socio-economic cultural differences might impede the training and the study sought to identify any such factors. A quasi-experimental mixed methods approach was used to ascertain the efficacy of training and subjective reasons for non-compliance respectively. Quantitative results were mixed, with the main effects non-significant, although one sub-scale concerning parental perceptions of their children as unique persons reached significance. A Pearson’s correlation indicated that those parents who completed training experienced fewer child problems and greater empathy towards their children, albeit the correlation fell just short of statistical significance (p = .07). Of eight participants only three completed the training and no participant was present for all training sessions. Qualitative data suggested that authoritarian parenting beliefs created resistance to Rogerian child-centred CPRT. Parents also demonstrated poor self-esteem and expectations of negative evaluation by other group members, possibly due to issues of self-concept. Furthermore, parents may have expected more immediate results as might be the case in a behaviourally oriented programme. Further research could explore the possibility of shame-proneness as the underlying cause of apparent esteem deficits.
Keywords: CPRT, empathy, disadvantage, self-concept, shame-proneness.
THE ACCEPTABILITY OF ‘THE CHRONIC ILLNESS GAME’ AS A THERAPEUTIC BOARD GAME TOOL FOR USE WITH CHILDREN
Marijeta Kurtin, Anna Chur-Hansen & Helen Winefield
The University of Adelaide, South Australia
Therapeutic board games have been utilised for the past two decades to assist children and adolescents with a range of psychosocial problems. Despite growing popularity and interest, the therapeutic value and the acceptability of board games, as perceived by psychologists, parents and children, has not been empirically evaluated. This exploratory pilot study investigates The Chronic Illness Game – a therapeutic board game designed for use with children with a history of chronic illness. Six pairs of psychologists (N =12) were invited to participate in video-recorded game-play sessions to investigate their perceived appropriateness of The Chronic Illness Game, and how effective they considered it might be in facilitating the disclosure of negative illness-related experiences. The Chronic Illness Game in its current format was deemed not appropriate or effective. A series of recommendations from psychologists about how best to modify this game are presented.
Keywords: therapeutic board game, therapy tools, children, chronic illness, play therapy
REASONS TO BE PLAYFUL IN CLINICAL SUPERVISION: RE-EXAMINING THE SUPERVISORY RELATIONSHIP IN A PLAY THERAPY CONTEXT
Simon Kerr-Edwards, Buckinghamshire, England
This article will reflect on the clinical supervisory relationship from both sides with a view to achieving a greater understanding of the dynamics of this dyad. Issues of vulnerability and resilience will be examined and definitions of clinical supervision will be considered. The development of an ‘internal supervisor’ will be posited as a central goal of the relationship. Furthermore, there will be a discussion of what the modality of Play Therapy can bring to the supervision relationship and it will be proposed that being more playful in the supervision room can bring about greater insight for both parties.
Key words: Play Therapy, Clinical Supervision, Internal Supervisor, Creative Supervision
SHORT-TERM GROUP THERAPEUTIC PLAY FOR
CHILDREN WITH COMMUNICATION AND
Angela Connor, Queensland, Australia
Chris Daniel-McKeigue, St Helens, England, UK
The purpose of this study was to see what changes take place in children (5-6 years) with communication and language difficulties after attending a group play therapy intervention. The group took place in a primary school in the North West of England. A pre-test post-test no comparison group design was implemented. Both quantitative and qualitative data was gathered from child, parent, teacher and therapist. Due to the small sample size (n=6) the paper does not attempt to show statistically significant change scores for children attending the therapeutic group. However, positive changes were reported for the majority of the children attending the group.
Parents and teachers were asked to respond to open-ended questions regarding the child’s expression of feeling and any emotional or behavioural change occurring after participation. Coding of questions was grouped into main categories from which patterns emerged. Improved dispositional behaviours were reported (i.e., more confidence, now able to speak out in class) and a marked change in externalising behaviour (improved group work, co-operating with others). A discussion of these findings, research
limitations and future research directions is provided.
Key words: Group play therapy, school based intervention, language and communication difficulties, internalising and externalising behaviour.
pp 32 – 46
ENHANCING CHILD-STAFF RELATIONSHIPS
IN A DAY TREATMENT SETTING:
A CASE STUDY
Hanne M. Duindam, Praktijk Ludare, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Peggy L. Ceballos, University of North Texas, USA
Adam Carter, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA
This exploratory case study design examined the effectiveness of Child Teacher Relationship Training in a day treatment setting to enhance staff-child relationships. Interviews were conducted to assess participants’ perceptions. Participants’ training skills were examined through observations of play session recordings and classroom interactions. Findings indicate that participants’ skills improved and that the training helped them deal more effectively with challenging behaviour in the classroom. Participants also reported a closer
relationship and better understanding of their students.
Keywords: training, day treatment, children, relationship, play therapy
pp 48 – 60
DEVELOPING PLAY THERAPY IN OUTDOOR SPACES – A PATHWAY INTO THE UNKNOWN
This article gives a theoretical perspective to one therapist’s experience of moving her play therapy practice out of the playroom and into outdoor spaces in order to achieve a more democratic, authentic and real practice based on clients’ needs. It considers those children whose early life experiences were such that they were unable to develop a subjective relationship with their body and explores the causal link with school exclusions statistics for physical assault and verbal abuse/threatening behaviour. It places outdoor therapy
in the context of early embodied developmental trauma and the need to facilitate the enactment of embodied meaning in order for the client to find resolution to the traumatic blocks.
It further considers the power dynamics in the client/therapist relationship and introduces the notion that containment of the outdoor space is achieved through the idea of symbolic walls, co-constructed through the therapeutic alliance and by a strongly held sense of the ‘competent therapist self ’. It introduces a three stage process for working in the outdoors, that of Settling, Transition and Transformation and concludes with a consideration of the significance of place to children in the context of their own reality.
Key words: Democratic, play therapy, embodied, symbolic, containment, transformation, ethics
IS THERE AN ASSOCIATION BETWEEN ADLERIAN PLAY THERAPY INTERVENTIONS AND A CORRESPONDING IMPROVEMENT IN CLASSROOM ON-TASK BEHAVIOURS IN YOUNG CHILDREN?
Kristin K. Meany-Walen, University of Northern Iowa, USA
Single case research design is a pragmatic approach to research that provides details about the dependent variable over the course of the study period. In this small scale study, three elementary aged boys with externalising behaviours received a combined individual and group Adlerian play therapy approach.
Findings suggest strong association between the boys receiving intervention and an improvement in their classroom on-task behaviours.
Key words: Adlerian theory, Adlerian play therapy, play therapy, single case research, externalising behaviours
BEING THE OTHER:
A CREATIVE EXPLORATION OF THE IDENTITY OF THE
Dwight Turner, Professor Jane Callaghan, Dr Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson
University of Northampton, England
Influenced by Fanon’s idea that the slave needs the master as much as the master needs the slave, this article uses sand play work to explore the unconscious draw for the other in relation to the majority. Offering an important insight into this difficult and contradictory relationship, this research argues that for difference to be fully understood we must make conscious and recognise this relationship for the other in order to free the other from their fear of their potential.
Key words: Difference, diversity, sand play, the other, Jung, Buber, identity
pp 32 – 51
IS CHILD-CENTRED PLAY THERAPY APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM?
Claire Finlay, University of Roehampton, England
Autism is a growing phenomenon, and an evolving concept. This paper poses the question whether, as a relationship-based therapy founded on the principles of Humanistic Psychology, and using play as its chief modality, there is a place for Child-Centred Play Therapy (CCPT) for children with autism. The author explores how different schools of thought give rise to different types of intervention, and considers whether CCPT can meet the challenges of working with the ‘core deficits’ of difficulties in inter-personal relationships, lack of symbolic understanding, and inflexibility of thought described as central features of autism. The author searches academic databases to identify specifically the literature regarding the use of CCPT with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The search is narrow in scope, and reveals nine studies which are reviewed individually. Practice often moves ahead of the evidence base, as practitioners ‘follow their noses’ – making decisions informed by experience and experiment. The author hopes to contribute to the debate and to assist practicing play therapists in decision-making.
This article has been adapted from the author’s Masters Dissertation submitted for the degree of M.A. Play Therapy, University of Roehampton, 2016.
Key words: Autism, therapeutic relationship, symbolic play, interaction, Child-centred Play
pp 52 – 75
EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE IN PLAY-ANALYSIS:
INTERPRETING AND USING THE PLAY OF ANXIOUS
Jason Steadman, East Tennessee State University, USA
A pilot-study was conducted to examine the feasibility and efficacy of a manualised play therapy for
anxious children called Fantasy-Exposure Life-Narrative Therapy (FELT). FELT demonstrates a means
through which clinicians and researchers can standardise an approach to analytic play therapy and better understand how children use play in clinical settings and how therapists can intervene when maladaptive themes arise. The study also discusses several research techniques which can be used to evaluate practice in clinical settings where large scale, controlled trials may not be feasible. These design features are discussed and results from FELT are used to demonstrate how they may apply in clinical settings. In this study, ten clinic-referred, child participants between the ages of 4 and 11 completed the full FELT programme.
Therapy lasted for 12 sessions, and outcome assessment was conducted pre- and post-treatment and at 6- week follow-up. Significant, reliable, clinically meaningful differences were found on several outcome measures, and qualitative feedback supported quantitative findings.
Keywords: Play therapy, anxiety, clinical practice, young children, multiple case experimental design
WATCHING AND BEING WATCHED: THE EXPERIENCE OF USING CLIENT VIDEO IN A PLAY THERAPY SUPERVISORY RELATIONSHIP
Simon Kerr-Edwards and Karen Jesnick
In this paper, the authors construct an imagined dialogue between them based on notes kept throughout the process of watching client video in clinical supervision and conversations they had during the compiling of this research. It is presented using an autoethnographical style, as if it were an actual conversation in supervision. They explore the processes of capturing and watching the video, the analysis and discussions that ensued that explore the experience from both sides of the supervisory relationship. They go on to examine what they have learnt from this inquiry and how the experience of watching video can be better understood as being of benefit for the child, supervisee and supervisor.
Key words: Play therapy, clinical supervision, watching video, autoethnographical research.
FILIAL THERAPY: FORMING THERAPEUTIC PARTNERSHIPS WITH PARENTS
TO ACHIEVE INTRAPSYCHIC, INTERPERSONAL AND NEUROBIOLOGICAL CHANGE FOR FAMILIES
Geraldine Thomas, London, England
Three of Filial Therapy’s distinct phases are discussed as unique compared to other parent child play-based approaches and as linked to positive change and outcome. These are the Family Play Observation, the Mock sessions and the Supervised play sessions. The presence of the therapist is considered to be key during each of these critical transitional phases.
Key words: Filial Therapy, parent-child relationship, systemic approaches, polyvagal theory, neurobiology, mentalisation, interpersonal reflex, intrapsychic reactions, attachment relationships
EXPLORING THE PLAY THERAPY PROCESS THROUGH THE LENS OF ERIKSON’S PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES
Sonia Murray, Northampton, England & Nick Banks, West Midlands, England
Through the use of a case study, this article discusses the developing therapeutic change process through Erikson’s Psychosocial Development stages in meeting an 8 year old boy’s therapeutic needs. The essential elements of attunement and ‘serve and return’ attachment interactions within the therapeutic relationship are explored, and how change occurred through the therapeutic process. The case study fuses a long term intervention of integrative play therapy with a child who had experienced complex relational trauma, early abuse and neglect.
Key words: Play therapy, Erikson psychosocial development stages, therapeutic process, attunement, attachment interactions
INTRODUCING FORENSIC SANDPLAY THERAPY
Emma Allen, Rampton Hospital, England
Forensic Sandplay Therapy (FSPT) has been pioneered in a high secure hospital setting for the first time in the UK and wider afield. FSPT has been adapted from Kalffian approaches to suit secure institutions. FSPT utilises a drawer and shadow-boarding methodology and takes account of forensic-related symbolism, where joint dynamic risk interpretations may be applied. This introductory paper contextualises the unique setting in which FSPT is offered and is hypothesised as a unique opportunity for offender client groups to adapt self-control, threat sensitivity and critical judgment in favour of spontaneity, creativity and playfulness, which are all helpful aspects in locating an authentic, renewed, empathic and compassionate, non-offending self. FSPT aims towards the reduction of risk of harm by offering a ‘securely-protected’ symbolic means in which to explore offending behaviour, resilience, control and boundaries, engagement, trust, communication and expressive deficits, self-identity and image, mental health or personality disorder, traumatic experiences and emotional states. FSPT is in its infancy and requires further research, however the approach could be adopted by therapists working with clients who exhibit high risk behaviours and have extensive offence histories.
Key words: Forensic Sandplay Therapy, Secure Settings, Offenders, Risk, Adults, Men
THE SEEDS OF SHAME: THE DEVELOPMENTAL IMPACT OF PERSISTENT MIS-ATTUNEMENT IN INFANCY – IMPLICATIONS FOR PLAY THERAPY
Maggie Fearn, University of South Wales
In the context of a humanistic, neurodevelopmental and trauma-informed approach to play therapy, this paper draws on theory and research that explores why some children appear to be more prone to shame than others, and how this may present in the play therapy room. A relational and neurobiological approach to understanding early child development supports the view that the infant actively co-creates the attachment relationship and, furthermore, that persistent mis-attunement in the first nine months may be correlated with proneness to core shame, with long-term impact on development in all domains. Expert interviews with a play therapist/biodynamic psychotherapist and a somatic movement therapist, and a play therapist’s focus group discuss this perspective and applications to practice. Findings suggest identifiable play themes and play behaviours that may be indicative of core shame. Because of the implicit, hidden and visceral nature of core shame in the therapeutic dyad, the importance of therapeutic relationship is highlighted. An embodied approach to therapeutic presence is explored, with implications for therapeutic use of self in relationship with the child.
Key Words: Infancy, Attunement, Shame, Play therapy, Somatic movement therapy
EVALUATING THE OUTCOMES OF CHILD-PARENT RELATIONSHIP THERAPY GROUPS FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS OF CHILDREN WITH INTERNALISING AND EXTERNALISING BEHAVIOURS
Rosanna W.L. Lau, Kwai Chung Hospital, Hong Kong & Gillian Catling Norfolk, England
This service evaluation was designed to examine the effectiveness of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) (Bratton, Landreth, Kellam, & Blackard, 2006) within a mental health service for children and adolescents. Specifically, the authors aimed to examine parents’ and caregivers’ perceptions of children’s internalising and externalising behaviours. They also revealed their experience in the CPRT groups in order to get a better insight of the strengths and limitations of the programme. It was hoped to give a clear steer on service allocation and to help with the design of better intervention programmes within the services in the future.
The results provide support for CPRT as an intervention in reducing parents’ and caregivers’ perceptions of their children’s problem behaviours. In general, the CRPT group appears to be largely acceptable to parents and caregivers and the result lends support to continuation of the CPRT group within the range of services provided. The limitations, such as the small sample size and the absence of using statistical analysis in this study, impact the generalisation of the result. Further service evaluation using a larger sample size should be conducted.
Key Words: Child Parent Relationship Therapy, filial therapy, internalising and externalising behaviours
EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF THE FOUNDATION COURSE IN THERAPEUTIC PLAY IN BANGLADESH – A PILOT STUDY
Mostak Ahamed Imran, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Paula Reed, University of Roehampton, England & Lisa Gordon Clark, University of Roehampton, England
This study emerged from a long-term interest of the British-based charity The Orphan Trust in developing a foundation level course in play therapy, targeting the professionals/people who work with underprivileged children living in the orphanages and on the streets of Bangladesh. A culturally adapted version of the Play Therapy Foundation Course offered at the University of Roehampton, UK was conducted in Dhaka, Bangladesh for seven days during March and April 2019. This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of the Foundation Course in Therapeutic Play in Bangladesh by analysing changes in the twenty participants’ attitude, knowledge, skills and by collating their responses to the course. The Play Therapy Attitude-Knowledge-Skills Survey (Kao & Landreth, 1997) was used for data collection. A statistically significant difference was found between the pre- and post-test results of the questionnaires. A reflective journal was also maintained by the lead researcher during the course period to understand the participants’ and his own feelings and thoughts about the course. Cultural implications of practising play therapy in Bangladesh are explored in this study. Future research is proposed to understand the long-term impact of this short course on the professionals’ capacity to help children in Bangladesh.
Key words: Play Therapy, therapeutic play, Foundation Course, Bangladesh
THE JOURNEY FROM FACE TO FACE CHILD CENTRED PLAY THERAPY TO ONLINE SESSIONS: REFLECTIONS FROM PLAY THERAPISTS DURING THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN FROM MARCH TO JUNE 2020
Jeanne McLaughlin With Kids, Glasgow, Scotland
Child centred play therapy (CCPT) involves working with vulnerable children and families in a consistent manner with planning for breaks paramount to the therapeutic process. In March 2020 a national lockdown strategy of “stay at home, work from home” was implemented throughout the UK bringing an abrupt ending to CCPT work. Play therapists sought different forms of contact including online video calls for therapeutic continuity. There is little research on the delivery, benefits or challenges of using CCPT skills online with children aged between 3-11yrs, therefore there is no evidence to inform clinical decisions play therapists had to make during this time. An anonymous online questionnaire gathered the experiences and strategies used by play therapists during the lockdown in the UK from March to June 2020. Play therapists maintained contact through online platforms with children often choosing to introduce a variety of therapeutic themes and use the established therapeutic relationship in a similar way to face to face contact. The online work was reported as physically demanding yet over eighty percent of play therapists were thinking of incorporating online work into future therapeutic plans. Future research should look at the experience of not only the play therapist but the children and families too.
Key words: Play therapy, digital health interventions, parent-child relationship, nonverbal communication, therapeutic alliance, play
EXAMINING THE ROLE OF ONLINE LEARNING IN PLAY THERAPY: ATTITUDES, KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Amanda Winburn, University of Mississippi, USA; Eric Suddeath, Denver Seminary, USA & Jessica Russo, University of Mississippi, USA
The purpose of this quantitative study is to measure and evaluate how online learning impacts students’ attitude, knowledge, and skills related to play therapy. Participating students (n = 44) completed the Play Therapy Attitudes, Knowledge and Skills Survey (PTAKSS) at the beginning and end of a 12-month online training programme. Students also reflected upon their experience in their online play therapy skills and theories course in anonymous surveys, which were analysed at the conclusion of the programme. Students’ scores were significantly different from the pre- to post-test on all subscales of the PTAKSS (attitude, knowledge, and skills). The results from this study conclude that online learning can have a positive significant impact on student’s attitudes, knowledge and skills in play therapy. Implications for training and practice of play therapy are discussed.
Key words: Play therapy, online education, asynchronous, teaching, learning
PLAYING IN THE FIELD: SCOPING THE THERAPEUTIC POWERS OF PLAY FOR NATURE PLAY THERAPY
Megan Ellard, Deakin University, Australia & Judi A. Parson, Deakin University, Australia
The incorporation of nature products within the playroom and the integration of play therapy within nature is gaining interest for many play therapists. Whilst the combination of nature in other contexts, such as broader psychology, health or education have been in place for decades, nature play therapy has not been widespread among play therapists. Due to the abstract quality of the term “nature”, any play therapist wishing to include natural items in their practice may find it difficult to know how best to approach this, in order to receive the best outcomes for their clients. This review investigated the current research into the integration of nature in a play therapy context, as well as drawing on wider research to examine the evidence of therapeutic benefits for children engaging in nature play. To monitor change, play therapists utilise the therapeutic powers of play (Schaefer & Drewes, 2014) to understand and contextualize the effectiveness of play therapy interventions. The twenty specific therapeutic powers of play were utilised as a frame of reference to assess each article within this review. Based on Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) scoping study methodology, an electronic database search revealed 14 articles met the inclusion criteria. Two overarching themes emerged, namely: 1) Nature play therapy in context, and 2) Research from the field of nature play. To establish the background and context in which this study takes place, additional literature is drawn upon which did not meet the inclusion criteria in the scoping study but strengthens and extends the discussion. A need for a more nuanced understanding of how best to include nature within a play therapy context to achieve therapeutic benefits for clients was identified from the research. Finally, further research recommendations are presented to further understand how, when and why to incorporate nature within the playroom and to integrate play therapy within nature.
Key words: Play therapy, therapeutic powers of play, nature play, outdoor play
CHILD TEACHER RELATIONSHIP TRAINING IN RESIDENTIAL CARE FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Emily J. Donald, East Tennessee State University, USA; Peggy Ceballos, University of North Texas, USA; Adam Carter, Northern Illinois University, USA; Veronica O’Brien, Georgia Southern University, USA & Krystal K. Turner, University of North Texas, USA
Children and adolescents entering residential treatment have emotional and behavioural concerns including mental health diagnoses, abuse histories, and externalising behaviours. In spite of challenges, residential care workers responsible for treatment in the therapeutic milieu must build relationships with youths in residential care, as those relationships are critical for treatment success. A mixed-methods study consisting of a multiple baseline across participants single-case design and qualitative case study was used to investigate the use of Child Teacher Relationship Training in a residential treatment facility for children and adolescents. Both the effects and perceptions of the training were explored. Residential care workers were able to generalise the child-centred play therapy skills learned in the training to their work in the classroom with groups of children. The training ranged from mildly to very effective. Qualitatively, participants experienced the training positively, found it useful, and reported a desire to continue to use the skills.
Key words: Residential care, child teacher relationship training, play therapy, child parent relationship therapy
IS IT REALLY ME IN THE PLAYROOM? THE EXPERIENCES OF BILINGUAL PLAY THERAPISTS
Former Master’s student at the University of Roehampton, London
This research was conducted on five coordinate bilingual play therapists working in their second language, who also have experience of being a play therapist in their mother tongue. Their experience is analysed and the ways in which language-related challenges influence their therapeutic process and practice were examined. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) provided the framework for conducting and analysing semi-structured, one-to-one interviews, which were used to gain insight into their lived experience as a therapist in both native and second languages. It was found that bilingualism is usually accompanied by a negative experience. Participants stated that it is challenging to speak in their second language because it has a different emotional resonance to their mother tongue. Furthermore, during their training and in their professional life, speaking a second language felt like a disadvantage and even a stigma. In the playroom, however, they did not experience such feelings. Working in their native language was a radically different experience, although they kept it to themselves and did not bring it into the therapeutic relationship. This study entered a previously unexplored area of research, which merits further exploration.
Key words: Coordinate bilingual, lived experience, play therapy, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, challenges
pp. 20 – 34
A RESEARCH PROPOSAL ON THE THERAPIST USE OF SELF IN CHILD-CENTRED PLAY THERAPY
Former Master’s student at the University of South Wales
The therapeutic relationship and the utilisation of therapist-offered conditions such as empathy and congruence, as proposed by Rogers (1957) within the context of that relationship, is considered fundamental to child-centred play therapy. The British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) outlines the use of therapist-offered conditions such as empathy, as personal qualities for registered therapists in their ‘Ethical Basis for Good Practice in Play Therapy’ (BAPT, 2020). However, there is limited research on the processes involved in the use of these internally experienced conditions and how they are externally expressed by therapists in play therapy sessions utilising a child-centred approach.
This proposal outlines a research study that would use the Degree of Immersion: Therapist Use of Self Scale (TUSS) (Yasenik & Gardner, 2019), anonymised session notes and a focus group to explore how BAPT registered play therapists perceive and experience their therapeutic use of self in the development of therapeutic relationships during child-centred play therapy interventions, as well their client’s responses as they express the therapist-offered conditions. Initial feasibility undertaken in the development of this proposal indicates that participation by BAPT registered play therapists would be ethically and practically possible within the context of their professional practice. Potential participants are encouraged to contact the author if interested in taking this research proposal forward.
Key words: Research proposal, Therapeutic relationship, play therapy, Therapist Use of Self Scale
PLAY-BASED INTERGENERATIONAL PROGRAMMES AND THEIR OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN: A SCOPING REVIEW
Phillipa Anne Westwood, Judi Alison Parson & Bridget Sarah
Deakin University, Australia
Intergenerational programmes are rising in popularity, aiming to close the gap caused by changing societal structures by periodically uniting children and older persons over a variety of activities. These programmes have been shown to have many positive outcomes for older people. However, the outcomes for children have seldom been explored beyond attitude changes towards older people. Research into play shows it has positive outcomes across the lifespan. Therefore, this scoping study investigated what the outcomes are for children who participate in play-based intergenerational programmes. Information on outcomes and programme structure was gathered. Additionally, a play-based lens was adopted to view the literature to find potential play-based outcomes that may have been overlooked by the original authors. The search for academic peer reviewed articles was conducted between March 2020 and October 2020 using databases with the EBSCOHost platform and yielded 14 articles for review. Findings revealed many potential therapeutic play-based outcomes for children: attachment, empathy, social competence, mastery over thoughts and feelings, self-confidence, self-regulation and positive emotions. This research demonstrates that play is a viable lens to view the outcomes and efficacy of intergenerational programmes and is a suitable medium through which outcomes can be achieved.
Key words: children, intergenerational programmes, play, play-based, scoping review, Therapeutic Powers of Play.
TRAPPED IN A WEB OF TRAUMA: A CASE STUDY OF A CHILD DIAGNOSED WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES IN INFANCY
The author hopes that this case study illustrates the importance for families, where very young children have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, in being able to access play therapy support as part of the child’s initial medical treatment plan. Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis in children under the age of three years old has been increasing and this trend is anticipated to continue. The traumatic impact on parents, when they have a child diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, has been well evidenced. The author argues that the significance of this diagnosis for children, particularly under the age of three, warrants greater recognition: particularly in relation to the child experiencing developmental trauma and resulting attachment insecurity. The author cites research evidencing that improved psychosocial functioning of child and parent has been linked to long-term outcomes for individuals with Type 1 Diabetes. This case study demonstrates how play therapy was an effective therapeutic intervention in supporting an eight-year-old child and his parents developing improved psychosocial functioning. The case study charts the child’s therapeutic journey from initial contact to ending. The author illustrates the strengthened relationships between the child and his primary attachment figures and demonstrates the quantifiably reduced trauma-related behaviours exhibited.
Key words: Type 1 Diabetes, developmental trauma, medical interventions, play therapy, attachment
PLAY THERAPISTS’ RESPONSE TO THE CLIMATE CRISIS
University of South Wales
The world is currently facing a climate crisis. Children and young people are increasingly aware of the negative impact of climate change and clinicians are observing growing numbers whose mental health and wellbeing is negatively impacted by this awareness (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2020). This paper reviews literature around the impact of climate change on children and young peoples’ mental health and explores play therapists’ unique and important role and response.
Research suggests that collective action is a useful buffer to the anxiety caused by climate crisis awareness (Sanson, Van Hoorn & Burke, 2019) and Chawla (2020) advocates for the integration of nature connection in coping with environmental change. Play is a developmentally therapeutic medium for children and a process which promotes therapeutic growth. The author proposes Climate Change Therapeutic Groups utilising: Play, Nature and Action (CCTG:PNA) as an appropriate intervention for children with a ‘mild’ to ‘moderate’ response from an awareness of the climate crisis, and play therapy with integration of nature for those with a ‘significant’ response.
The paper highlights how play therapists can educate and support parents/carers and teachers to actively listen to children and encourage discussion about the climate crisis, supporting them in processing the emotive content. Although focusing on play therapists’ responses, it is hoped that this paper will be helpful for other mental health practitioners working with children and young people.
Key words: Eco-anxiety, play therapy, climate change, nature, children, action
WAYS TO INTEGRATE THE SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING (SEWB) MODEL WITHIN A PLAY THERAPY PROGRAMME FOR AN AUSTRALIAN
Heather Coull & Judi Parson
Deakin University, Victoria, Australia
Play therapists need to ensure culturally responsive services are appropriately delivered to all populations, including Australian Aboriginal peoples. The Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) model is one framework that play therapists can consider when working cross culturally. Using qualitative, narrative research methods, six participants, who lived and/or worked in an urban Australian Aboriginal Community in New South Wales (NSW), were interviewed. The overarching research question asked, ‘How could practice be adapted to a play therapy service to make it culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children within [an urban Australian Aboriginal Community in NSW]?’ When discussing SEWB, participants stated that all domains are linked together. The multiple domains in the framework include connection to: community; culture; country; spirit, spirituality and ancestry; body; mind and emotions; family and kinship. Therefore, when healing occurs in one domain, it has a positive impact on the others. The scope of this paper is limited to integrating the SEWB model into play therapy development, delivery and practice when working with Aboriginal children, families and Community. It combines the findings with the current literature and provides insights into how play therapists can work in a culturally responsive way.
Key words: Australian Aboriginal, SEWB Model, Narrative Research, Play Therapy
ANIMAL ASSISTED PLAY THERAPY™ WITH GROUPS
Risë VanFleet, Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Centre, Inc. and the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy, Pennsylvania, USA
& Tracie Faa-Thompson, Turn About Pegasus and AAPT Base, Northumberland, England
Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ (AAPT) is a multidisciplinary therapeutic approach that includes properly trained animals in the practise of play therapy and other therapeutic or educational interventions. AAPT also requires substantial training of the practitioners who employ it. It can be appropriate for all ages of clients, and it can be used with individuals, families, and groups. It also can be applied within a wide range of therapy orientations and modalities. This article highlights key features of AAPT and how they can be applied in group formats. Included are the principles and theoretical underpinnings of AAPT, considerations and functions of therapists conducting group therapy, the additional functions performed by therapists who add an animal to a group or family intervention, and the central importance of animal welfare and human-animal relationships based on healthy attachments. A case study that illustrates the many complexities as well as the playfulness of AAPT when conducted in groups, including families, follows.
Key words: Animal Assisted Play Therapy™, Animal Assisted Therapy, play therapy, group play therapy, human-animal relationships, animal welfare in therapy
OBTAINING AND ANALYSING PLAY THERAPY PROCESS – AN EXAMPLE FROM PRACTICE
Sonia Murray, Jogo Behaviour Support, Northampton, England
& Karen Stagnitti, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia
This paper explains the process of play therapy by exploring a case study of a 9-year-old child who had low play ability, challenging behaviours, and a trauma background. The theoretical underpinnings inform the decisions of the play therapy approach and reasoning for changes observed of the child during therapy. Establishing a feeling of safety, predictability, and the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the child are explained in depth. The pre- and post-measures to empirically track change were the Animated Movie Test (Stagnitti, 2018) and the Boxall Profile (Bennathan & Boxall, 1998). Observations of the child in situ and feedback from carers and teachers were also fundamental to tracking change. The process of play therapy in this case shows the shifts in the child’s sense of safety, increases in pretend play ability, decreases in challenging behaviours, and transfer of skills outside the playroom.
Key words: Play therapy, therapeutic process, case study, outcome measures, social engagement system, psychosocial life span theory, EPR
LIGHT UP THE SPARK: WHAT NURTURES A THERAPEUTIC MOMENT IN
Former Master’s student at the University of Roehampton, London, England
A full consideration of fleeting therapeutic moments in sessions has been lacking in the theory and practice of the field of psychotherapy, particularly amongst play therapists. This paper therefore attempts to raise a greater awareness of how therapeutic moments operate to facilitate overall therapeutic effects in child clients. A phenomenological and qualitative approach was adopted. Three qualified play therapists were interviewed, and their accounts of therapeutic moments witnessed in their child clients were recorded. Findings of this small-scale research suggest that therapeutic moments have multifarious manifestations, which could take place as both positive connections and difficult stalemates within the therapeutic dyad. Their healing impacts are witnessed not just in troubled children but also in the therapists. They enhance clinical experience and knowledge as well as reaffirm the therapists’ mission and passion. Thorough understanding of the topic is considered necessary to lay the foundation for fruitful training of therapists, who can then identify therapeutic moments and harness them for optimal therapeutic impact.
Key words: Therapeutic moment, play therapy, nurturing factors, identification, enhancing sensitivity, therapeutic impact
- LISA GORDON CLARK – Formerly of University of Roehampton, London, England
- Dr SUE ELMER – Leeds Trinity University, England
- MAGGIE FEARN – University of South Wales, Wales
- TRACIE FAA-THOMPSON – International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy
- Dr SUE JENNINGS – NDP, Stratford-upon-Avon, England
- MAGGIE PALMER – South London & Maudsley Trust, London, England
- Dr JUDI PARSON – Deakin University, Australia
- Dr SUE PATTISON – University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England
- Dr PAULA REED – Formerly of University of Roehampton, England
- DR VIRGINIA RYAN – Formerly of University of York, England
- Dr CHRIS WARREN-ADAMSON – Formerly of Universities of Sussex and Southampton
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