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British Association of Play Therapists

Instructions for authors – Journal


The British Journal of Play Therapy is published annually by the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT), and is available free to Full, Student & Retired BAPT members, as well as by subscription to libraries, organisations and individual subscribers worldwide. A reduced subscription rate is offered to Associates of BAPT.

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. In this way 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.

Submission requirements and procedures

Form of submissions:
Submission of theoretical, philosophical, research and literature reviews will be considered as will articles which focus on beneficial play therapy practices or on current issues or concerns related to play therapy, underpinned by theoretical knowledge. Submissions may therefore assume any of the following forms:

1. Empirical papers reporting original research findings
2. Theoretical papers
3. Review papers, which need not be exhaustive, but which should give an interpretation of the state of research or practice in a given field and, where appropriate, identify its clinical implications
4. Systematic reviews, including meta-analyses
5. Case studies
6. Comments and replies on previously published articles
7. Book reviews of core relevance to play therapy

Length of articles:
Contributions of different lengths are invited, including both standard research/theoretical papers (4,000 – 7,000 words, excluding references) and reports (1,000 – 2,500 words, excluding references). Papers of more than 7,000 words are unlikely to be published, although in some instances authors may be invited to divide a longer original submission into two or more shorter pieces.
The journal may consider longer, monograph-length submissions (15,000-50,000 words). These may be published as stand-alone Research Monographs, with a brief summary report carried in the main journal.
Book reviews must not exceed 1,000 words.

Submission requirements:
(a) Papers should be sent electronically to the Editor ( with ‘BJPT article submission’ in the subject line. The main text of the paper, including any tables or figures, should be saved as a Word 6.0/95 compatible file. The file must be sent as a MIME-compatible attachment.

(b) The main body of the e-mail should include the name/s of the author/s and a statement that all named authors have agreed to the submission and that the paper is not currently under consideration elsewhere. Submission of a paper implies that it has not been published elsewhere and that it is not being considered for publication in another journal. Authorship encompasses not only those who do the actual writing but also those who have made substantial scientific or academic contributions to a study. One author should be identified as the correspondent and that person’s title, name and email address supplied. An e-mail acknowledgement of receipt, including an article reference number, will be sent to the corresponding author.

(c) Author biographies: On a separate page provide a one-paragraph biographical note for each author – up to 40 words for a single author, but not to exceed 100 words in a multi-authored paper. A title page with the name of author(s), position and place of work should be submitted separately to preserve anonymity. This will not be sent to the Editorial Board referees. Accordingly all information about authorship including personal acknowledgements and institutional affiliations must also be presented separately.

(d) Contributions must be typed in double spacing with wide margins. All pages must be numbered.

(e) Tables should be typed in double spacing, each on a separate page with a self-explanatory title. Tables should be comprehensible without reference to the text. They should be placed at the end of the document with their approximate locations indicated in the text.

(f) Figures and illustrations are usually produced direct from author’s originals and should be presented as good black or white images preferably, and carefully labelled in initial capital/lower case lettering with symbols in a form consistent with text use. Unnecessary background patterns, lines and shading should be avoided. All figures and tables should be referred to in the text and their appropriate positions indicated in the text. Any artwork should be submitted in electronic form (ie. as a JPEG or BMP file).

(g) All articles should be preceded by an Abstract of a maximum of 200 words, giving a concise statement of the intention and results or conclusions of the article. The abstract should be followed by up to 6 key words.

(h)Total word counts must be given.

(i) Bibliographic references in the text should quote the author’s name and the date of publication thus: Schaefer (1998). Multiple citations should be given alphabetically rather than chronologically: (Cattanach, 1998; Jennings, 1999; Schaefer, 1997). If a work has two authors, cite both names in the text throughout: Rye & Jager (2007). In the case of reference to three or more authors, use all names on the first mention and et al. thereafter except in the reference list. The letters a, b, c, etc should distinguish citations of different works by the same author in the same year.

(j) Authors should also include a reference list that includes all the works cited in the text, listed in alphabetical order. References should follow the format described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). They should list authors’ surnames and initials, date of publication, title of article, name of book or journal, volume number or edition, editors, place of publication and publisher. In the case of an article or book chapter, page numbers should be included.

Journal article:
Robson, K., & Tooby, A. (2004). Play therapy with looked after children: An attachment perspective. British Journal of Play Therapy, 1(1), 16-25.
Cattanach, A. (1997). Children’s stories in play therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Book chapter:
Ryan, V. (2007). Non-directive play therapy with abused children and adolescents. In K. Wilson & A. James (Eds.), The child protection handbook (3rd ed., pp. 414-432). London: Bailliere Tindall.
Electronic sources:
Include a retrieval statement with the dates the information was retrieved along with the name and/or URL address of the source eg
British Association of Play Therapists. (n.d.). A History of Play Therapy. Retrieved November 30th, 2008, from History of Play Therapy

-Give all journal/periodical titles in full, using upper case and lower case letters
-Capitalise only the first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any, plus any proper nouns.
-Two or more references by the same author are arranged by year of publication.

(k) Particular care should be taken to ensure that references are accurate and complete, including only the sources that were used in the research and preparation of the article. Each entry in the reference list must be cited in the text. Incomplete or improperly prepared references will be returned to authors for correction.

(l) Spelling used should be English (UK)

(m) Authors are requested to avoid the use of sexist, racist or other discriminatory language.

(n) Authors are responsible for acquiring written permission to publish lengthy quotations, illustrations etc for which they do not own copyright.

(o) Clinical case material and research findings cited should be anonymised, with the author ensuring that written permission for inclusion in the submission by subjects has been given.

Refereeing System:
The journal operates a policy of anonymous peer review. Papers will normally be scrutinised and commented on by at least two members of the Editorial Board (in addition to the Editor) although the Editor may process a paper at his or her discretion. The referees will not be made aware of the identity of the author/s.

Referees will review the paper in terms of the following criteria:

Importance of the Subject
Originality of the Approach
Soundness of the Scholarship
Degree of Interest to our Readership
Clarity of the Organisation
Strength of the Argument
Writing Style
Referees will be asked to evaluate whether the paper merits publication as it stands, with minor or with major revisions or whether it is unsuitable for publication. Constructive and specific recommendations for amendment and areas of improvement will be requested.

Once feedback from both referees has been received by the Editor, these will be collated and forwarded to the author/s (retaining anonymity of the referees). Where minor or major revisions are advised the author/s will be invited to resubmit their paper accompanied by a list of changes or a rebuttal against each point raised by the referees.

Where appropriate, resubmitted papers may then be sent back to one or both of the original referees for their further comment and approval.

The Editor reserves the right to over-rule the decision of one or the other of the referees, in consultation with the Chair of BAPT.

Electronic proofs will be sent to authors for correction prior to print but not for rewriting or the introduction of new material. On publication, authors will receive one copy of the journal.

Ethical considerations

The Ethical Basis for Good Practice in Play Therapy requires all Play Therapists to act in an ethical, respectful and sensitive manner. The British Association of Play Therapists resolves to avoid all links with individuals and organisations and their formal representatives that do not affirm and adhere to the principles in the Ethical Basis for Good Practice in Play Therapy. Authors may be asked to sign a document confirming the adherence to these principles. Any study published in this journal must pay due respect to the well-being and dignity of research participants.

In order for the British Journal of Play Therapy to publish your paper, you must agree to the terms and conditions listed below:

By submitting a manuscript the authors agree that the copyright for their article is transferred to the publisher, the British Association of Play Therapists, if and when the article is published. Such copyright covers the rights to reproduce and distribute the article in the British Journal of Play Therapy or in any other publication of the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT). This is a worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free licence to publish the article on-line, in print and in any other format in which it is now or in the future capable of existence and in any language. The article may be published in whole or in part, alone or in combination with other articles;
The British Journal of Play Therapy and other publication branches of BAPT may change the appearance of the article (layout and format) to ensure consistency and readability;
You warrant to the British Journal of Play Therapy and BAPT that the article is original and does not infringe any existing copyright or any other rights of any third party and that you have the full authority to enter into this Agreement and grant the rights assigned to the British Journal of Play Therapy and BAPT without resulting in any breach of obligation you may have;
You are free to place the article wherever you wish, once six months has elapsed from the date of its first publication in the British Journal of Play Therapy, but in all such cases you will ensure that the British Journal of Play Therapy is identified as the main publisher and the British Journal of Play Therapy citation details of the article are listed;
This agreement will be accepted as valid for the British Journal of Play Therapy, BAPT, its licensees, assignees and successors in business.

Online access to the British Journal of Play Therapy

Abstracts of articles published in the British Journal of Play Therapy will be available for download by the general public from the BAPT website: Journal of Play Therapy
Electronic copies of the British Journal of Play Therapy are available to students on BAPT-accredited play therapy training courses only via Access to this site is password-limited.

Submission Deadlines
Please contact the Journal Editor at for the latest submission deadlines.

Further Information
Please contact the Journal Editor at