About Play Therapy

This section tells you a little bit about play therapy. 

Play Therapy is a method of helping children with behaviour and emotional problems to help themselves. Play is the child's natural way of expressing themselves and is essential for emotional and social development. Play therapy is an opportunity for the child to 'play out' their thoughts, feelings and problems. Through specialist techniques the child will gain insight into their personal problems. I utilise the non-directive approach, which is person-centred and allows the child to choose the method they feel is most appropriate to them personally.

Modern play therapy is based upon principles developed by Virginia Axline, which are Non-Directive.

The therapist:

  • Develop's a warm and friendly relationship with the child.
  • Accepts the child as she or he is.
  • Establishes a feeling of permission in the relationship so that the child feels free to express his or her feelings completely.
  • Is alert to recognise the feelings the child is expressing and reflects these feelings back in such a manner that the child gains insight into his/her behaviour.
  • Maintains a deep respect for the child’s ability to solve his/her problems and gives the child the opportunity to do so. The responsibility to make choices and to institute change is the child’s.
  • Does not attempt to direct the child’s actions or conversations in any manner. The child leads the way, the therapist follows.
  • Does not hurry the therapy along. It is a gradual process and must be recognised as such by the therapist.
  • Only establishes those limitations necessary to anchor the therapy to the world of reality and to make the child aware of his/her responsibility in the relationship. 

Practitioners of play therapy and therapeutic play use a Play 'Therapy Tool-Kit.' No medication is used in play therapy. 

Play therapy has emerged as a mainstream mental health profession alongside counselling and psychotherapy with its own professional organisation Play Therapy UK  - The United Kingdom Society for Play and Creative Arts Therapies. You can get more detailed information from PTUK's site. www.playtherapy.org.uk/


Certification Mark

Claire Dargonne, Inspire Play Therapy Sussex.