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Why Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is developmentally sensitive and evidenced-based

"Play therapy is a long-established psychotherapeutic modality for working with children in diverse settings such as clinical, educative, and community based [1]. Meta-analyses indicated that Play Therapy is developmentally and culturally sensitive across a broad range of presenting paediatric mental health difficulties, with a beneficial treatment effect [2,3]. Humanistic models of Play Therapy that include parents produce the most beneficial treatment outcomes[3]" (Renshaw, 2023).

1. Axline, V. M. (1969). Play therapy. Ballantine Books.

2. Bratton, S. C., & Lin, Y. (2015). A meta-analytic review of child-centered play therapy approaches. Journal of Counseling & Development, 93, 45–58.

3. Bratton, S. C., Ray, D., Rhine, T., & Jones, L. (2005). The efficacy of play therapy with children: A meta-analytic review of treatment outcomes. Professional Psychology, Research And Practice, 4, 376.

  • Renshaw, K. L. (2023). Connor struggles to stay in school. In J. A. Parson, B. J. Dean & N. A. Hadiprodjo (Eds.), Integrating therapeutic play for nursing and allied health care: A developmentally sensitive approach to communicating with children. Springer. Retrieved from 

Play Therapy is Evidence-Based

Evidence-Based Practice Statement: Play Therapy

The Efficacy of Play Therapy and Filial Therapy with Children: Summary of the Meta-Analytic Findings

Play Therapy is Developmentally Sensitive

"Play therapy is a developmentally responsive modality uniquely suited for children to help prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development. Developmentally, children lack the cognitive ability to meaningfully communicate their thoughts, feelings, and experiences through the abstract means of verbal language. The concrete objects (toys, art, etc.) and other play-based experiences provided in play therapy afford children an age-appropriate and emotionally safe means to express their difficult experiences" (Bratton et al., 2005).

  • Bratton, S., Ray, D., Rhine, T., & Jones, L. (2005). The efficacy of play therapy with children: A Meta-analytic review of the outcome research. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(4), 376-390.  

Play Therapy Works!

Play has Therapeutic Qualities

In 1993, Charles Schaefer wrote that child development authors “have produced evidence that play facilitates a child’s gross and fine motor development, cognitive and language development, and social adjustment” (1993, p. 3). He went on to define the first therapeutic powers of play (1993) and then with Athena Drewes, they created four domains and defined 20 core agents for change (2013).

  • Schaefer, C.E. (Ed.). (1993). The Therapeutic Powers of Play. Jason Aronson.

  • Schaefer, C.E., & Drewes, A. A. (2013). The Therapeutic Powers of Play: 20 Core Agents of Change (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc: Hoboken. 

"Play is the work of childhood."

J. Piaget

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