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Introduction to Play Therapy

 Cindi Bockwitz, MA, LPC-S, RPT-S



Participants will be able to:

1. Describe the rationale for the use of play therapy.

2. Learn effective and practical strategies to counsel children using play techniques.

3. Discuss the therapeutic effects of play therapy.

4. Demonstrate basic facilitative responses using play therapy techniques.

5. Develop an understanding of the value of play as a therapeutic intervention.

6. Understand the importance of play as an assessment tool with children.

7. Understand how play and family therapy techniques can be integrated for evaluation and treatment purposes.



The historical development of play


        release therapy

        relationship therapies

        nondirective play therapy

Why use play therapy?

Principles for relating to children



Basic propositions of child centered play therapy

Functions of play therapists

        directive and nondirective

Traits conducive to being a good play therapist

The playroom and materials

        ideal playroom characteristics

        rationale for the selection of toys and materials

        play therapy room procedures

Goals of play therapy



        return responsibility

        credit the effort

        give choices

        set limits

Multicultural issues and play therapy

        consideration of demographic variables of children

Therapeutic responding

        skilled, pegs

Facilitative play therapy responses

Nonfacilitative play therapy responses

Questions children ask in play therapy and their possible meanings

Therapeutic limit setting



        steps in effective limit setting

Recognizing and understanding play themes

        common themes

        making interpretations

Transference issues in play therapy

        positive and negative transference

Intervening in stagnant, rigid, or ongoing repetitive play

Preventing burn out in play therapy

Determining therapeutic process and terminations

        readiness for termination

        procedures for ending relationship

Consulting with parents

        assessment of parent functioning

        personality priorities

        using play therapy in family therapy


If time permits:

Looking for meaning in children's art

Sandtray play


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