child centred play therapyChild Centred Play Therapy

A child centred play therapy practitioner allows for Nondirective play therapy which is based on respect for the child and confidence in his or her ability to direct his or her process. The therapist maintains a deep respect for the child’s ability to solve his problems if given an opportunity. A trained play therapist can interpret the child’s play and the themes that emerge so that a reworking of these experiences can occur. This requires the therapist to enter the emotional world of the child rather than expecting the child to understand the therapist’s world, which is beyond their capabilities. Note that severely autistic children have not traditionally received child centred play therapy, as a capacity or potential capacity for symbolic play is deemed necessary.

Locus Of Control

The parent learns how to listen empathically to their child’s feelings, thoughts and even actions without questioning, teaching or praising. In addition to situational stress, a child’s biological predisposition, temperament, personality and, family environment will impact a child’s reaction to stressors. When setting limits, parents are asked to provide the child with the opportunity to develop an internal locus of control rather than an external one. They will begin to play out deeper issues and verbalize their thoughts and feelings to the therapist. When a child starts to feel better about herself, she will be less likely to behave in self-destructive ways and encouraged to act in self-fulfilling ways.

progress towards goalsProgress Towards Goals

Parents or caregivers who seek play therapy for their child often ask how they should explain play therapy to their child. It requires that the therapist maintains unconditional acceptance and positive regard for the child. Additionally, positive treatment effects were found to be greatest when there was a┬áparent actively involved in the child’s┬átreatment. These are closely followed by therapists’ core skills of empathy, warmth, genuineness, self-awareness, and self-growth. Parents and caregivers have an important role to play in their child’s therapeutic process, and regular review meetings are scheduled to ensure they are updated with their child’s overall progress. The purpose of the ongoing consultations is to maintain and foster a healthy therapist-parent alliance, allow the parents and play therapist to collaboratively assess the progress toward goals, and further educate parents about child development, parenting skills and community resources.

Types Of Goals

Play therapists work differently, but all use the benefits of play to psychologically help children. During this process, play therapists must be sensitive to the parents’ cultural backgrounds because the parents’ values will influence the types of goals established for their child. Because child-centered play therapists focus on the relationship with the child rather than on the presenting problem, they face unique challenges when helping parents understand how this traditional theoretical approach helps children with specific goals that are established to assess progress.

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