Play Therapy It’s place in the Counseling Office
History of Play Therapy • Sigmund Freud first used PT in 1909 • Carl Rogers introduced person-centered theory • Virginia Axline-created non-directive play therapy • Current definition (Association of Play Therapy, 2008) "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development."
What is Child-Centered Play Therapy • Restate what the child says (if anything) • Reflect feeling and content • Set limits in the playroom that prohibit the student from hurting self, you, or materials • Emphasis on the child and the natural way that a child can work out an issue
Techniques: Tracking • The counselor is an observer • The counselor restates what the child is doing without adding negative or positive statements • Children are allowed to process on their own without counselor interpretation
Experiential Activity with Tracking and Reflection • What did you notice from the client’s play? • What themes can you draw from it? • What would you write in notes about the child?
Directive Play Therapy • Directive = Counselor leads or guides session • Creative activities are used to guide counseling sessions in order to gauge the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of the client • Goal oriented • Allows for specific evidence of change and growth in the child
Techniques: Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy • The emphasis is on developing new, more adaptive thoughts and behaviors • The counselor uses techniques to guide student in using more helpful coping strategies to deal with problems • Pairs concrete examples with abstract ideas and emotions
Experiential Activity: Weights and Balloons • How did the activity help explain the thought-feeling connection? • For which developmental levels is this appropriate? • How can this activity help the counselor/student with goal setting?
Applying play into your Counseling • Play, art, story-telling, and music can be integrated with multiple theoretical approaches • Play can be used as a medium within a counseling session to bring ease to any aged child • Middle and high school students may even long for a modality of expression other than spoken language • Direct questions do not always produce direct responses
Who is using Play Therapy • In 2005, 105 counseling graduate programs in the US offered at least one course in play therapy • In 2005, 978 school counselors from ACA and APT were surveyed about their theoretical background and 66.6% responded child-centered with cognitive behavioral in second at 9.2% • Of those responding to the survey, the average number of graduate courses taken in Play Therapy was 1.5
Who is using Play Therapy • Elementary school counselors were survey about opinions of Play Therapy (381 School Counselors) • 97% of the school counselors believed that play was the natural language of a child • In a qualitative section responders indicated that limitations to using Play Therapy in schools included lack of time with students and lack of training (2005)
Efficacy of Play Therapy • Kranz, Rameriz, Flores-Torres, Steele, & Lund (2005) used games and art to create comfort in migrant children • Baggerly and Parker (2005) used CCPT with 22 African American males
Efficacy of Play Therapy • Kot, Landreth, and Giordano(1998) experimentally studied a group of children who were all witnessing domestic violence in the home • Post (1999) studied 168 children that were considered at-risk based on poverty, low achievement, special education label, or mobility in the home
Final Thoughts • Play therapy allows children to process and proceed at their own pace • Developmentally appropriate • Works with culturally diverse children, labeled children, and those experiencing trauma • Graduate students should be aware of and trained in play therapy to face the needs they will encounter in the school system
Resources • Association of Play Therapy (n.d.). About Play Therapy Overview. Retrieved May 15, 2008 from http://www.a4pt.org/ps.playtherapy.cfm • Baggerly, J., & Parker, M. (2005). Child-centered group play therapy with African American boys at the elementary school level. Journal of Counseling and Development 83(4), 387-397. • Dougherty, J. & Ray, D.C. (2007). Differential impact of play therapy on developmental levels of children. International Journal of Play Therapy, 16(1), 2-19. • de Rios, M. D. (1997). Magical realism: A cultural intervention for traumatized Hispanic children. Cultural Diversity & Mental Health, 3(3), 159-170. • Fall, M. (1994). Physical and emotional expression: A combination approach for working with children in the small areas of a school counselor’s office. School Counselor, 42(1), 73-77. • Fall, M., Balvanz, J., Johnson, L., & Nelson, L. (1999). A play therapy intervention and its relationship to self-efficacy and learning behaviors. Professional School Counseling, 2(3), 194-204.
Resources • Gil, E. (1994). Play in family therapy. New York: Guilford. • Johnson, L., Mcleod, E.H., & Fall, M. (1997). Play therapy with labeled children in the schools. Professional School Counseling, 1(1), 31-34. • Kottman, T. (2001). Play therapy: Basics and beyond. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association. • Lambert, S.F., LeBlanc, M., Mullen, J.A., Ray, D., Baggerly, J., White, J., & Kaplan, D. (2005). Learning more about those who play in session: The national play therapy in counseling practices project. International Journal of Play Therapy, 14(2), 7-24. • Landreth, G. L. (1991). Play therapy: The art of the relationship. Muncie, IN: Accelerated Development.
Resources • Post, P. (1999) Impact of child-centered play therapy on the self-esteem, locus of control, and anxiety of at-risk 4th-, 5th-, and 6th grade students. International Journal of Play Therapy, 8, 1-18. • Ray, D. C. (2006). Evidence-based play therapy. In Schaefer, C. E. & Kaduson, H. G. (Ed), Contemporary play therapy: Theory, research, and practice (pp.# 136- 157). New York: Guilford. • Ray, D.C., Armstrong, S.A., Warren, E.S., & Balkin, R.S. (2005). Play therapy practices among elementary school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 8(4), 360-366. • Shen, Y., & Sink, C.A. (2002). Helping elementary-age children cope with disasters. School Counseling, 5(5). Synder, B.A. (1997) Expressive art therapy techniques: Healing the soul through creativity. Journal of Humanistic Education and Development, 32(2), 74-82.