In play therapy, toys are like the child's words and play is the child's language (Landreth, 2002).
Therefore, play therapy gives children a language to communicate feelings or concepts that they cant cognitively grasp fully due to age.
Play therapy has been a therapy service accessed as the primary intervention or as an adjunctive therapy for multiple Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders (Bratton, Ray, Rhine, & Jones, 2005; LeBlanc & Ritchie, 2001; Lin & Bratton, 2015; Ray, Armstrong, Balkin, & Jayne, 2015; Reddy, Files-Hall, & Schaefer, 2005). Play therapy supports a range of Social and Emotional needs Including, though not limited to:
- anxiety disorders
- obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Impulse control and attention deficit hyperactivity
- autism spectrum
- oppositional defiant and conduct disorders
- anger management
- trauma, including PTSD
- grief and loss
- school refusal
- self harm behaviours
- Selective Mutism
- changes in family dynamics- such as new sibling, separation, divorce
- social skills developmental
- and in supporting times of transition- school transition, family relocation
Child-Centered Play Therapy
Integrating IPNB with Attachment Theory
Play therapy is a powerful, evidence-based method of therapeutically working with children through exploring and joining their innate, creative, and non-verbal capacities. Landreth (2012) defines play therapy as:
… a dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child (or person of any age) and a therapist…who provides selected play materials and facilitates the development of a safe relationship for the child ... to fully express and explore self (feelings, thoughts, experiences, and behaviours) through play, the child's natural medium of communication, for optimal growth and development. (p. 11)
In child-centered play therapy (CCPT), a non-directive approach is used by play therapists with children who are experiencing social, emotional, behavioural, or relational difficulties. This form of play therapy was originally developed by Virginia Axline in the mid-20th century, with a strong influence by the person-centered approach of Carl Rogers (1961). The focus and goal of CCPT is to allow children to feel safe and comfortable to explore their concerns through creative play and a trusted relationship. The therapist does not direct, shape, or lead the child’s expression or behaviour, rush the therapeutic process, or set limits until required (Axline, 1989). In this way, the CCPT approach allows children to develop a warm, caring, and accepting relationship with the therapist, enabling them to express any emotion and gain insight. In forming a therapeutic relationship between a child and therapist, CCPT combines IPNB science with attachment theory to foster a child’s development of secure, interpersonal relationships to allow for healing and growth.
To read more about Play Educate’s CCPT services, and how this therapeutic method may be beneficial for your child, please click here. If you would like to know more about developing a secure relationship and attachment with your child, please click here to see our Parenting Support services .