WHAT IS THE PLAY THERAPY?

DEFINIZIONE PLAY THERAPY

Play Therapy is the strategic use of play within therapeutic contexts to promote the expression and processing of the child’s thoughts, needs and feelings.

Although play has always been recognized as a means of communication, understanding of the child and development of the therapeutic relationship, Play Therapy is a paradigm that has developed evolutionarily within different theoretical orientations that present similarities and differences in their approach which is distinguished such as Directive Play Therapy and Non-Directive Play Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy (CBPT) is included among the directive approaches.

TYPES OF PLAY THERAPY

DIRETTIVA

DIRECTIVE Play Therapy

Directive Play Therapy uses play to create a strong bond between therapist and child.

NON DIRETTIVA

Play Therapy NON-Directive

Non-Directive Play Therapy is an effective, non-intrusive therapy that takes place with children.

Historically, play therapy has been based on either psychodynamic or client-centered theories, such as Child-Centered Play Therapy (Axline, 1947). CBPT is different from these more traditional forms of play therapies, but has similarities to them in its reliance on a positive therapeutic relationship, use of a play as a means of communication between therapist and child, and therapy as a safe place.

Several important areas of differences involve: the focus on CBPT on directions and goals, choice of play materials and activities, play as educational, and the importance of making connections between the child’s behavior and thoughts.

SIMILARITIES/DIFFERENCES WITH THE TRADITIONAL PLAY THERAPIES

Knell (2009) describes the most salient similarities and differences between these two approaches, grouping them into: direction and objectives of therapy, play materials and activities, educational value of play, interpretation of the child’s play and role of praise. Obviously this description may be extremely reductive of the Play Therapy paradigm, but it gives an idea of the aspects that will be better described in the specific pages.

DIRECTION AND GOALS OF PLAY THERAPY

Non-directive play therapy values children as they are, without external demands, and avoids giving directions. In CBPT, however, we define therapeutic goals, and the foundation of intervention involves directing actions toward these goals.

PLAY THERAPY ACTIVITIES AND PLAY MATERIALS

In non-directive play therapy, kids pick play items and activities, and decide how to play. In CBPT, both the child and therapist make these choices.

PLAY AS EDUCATION

In non-directive play therapy, we view education as unsuitable due to its classification as a form of direction. In CBPT, we use play to teach alternative and more adaptive skills and behaviors.

INTERPRETATIONS AND CONNECTIONS

In non-directive play therapy the therapist does not interpret the child’s play but communicates their absolute acceptance.

The CBPT therapist explains the child’s play, helping them discuss conflicts and important matters.

PRAISE

In non-directive play therapy, practitioners avoid praise to prevent the child from feeling unaccepted and to avoid hinting at a need for change. In CBPT, praise is a crucial component of therapy. Praise communicates to the child which behaviors are appropriate and reinforces these behaviors to the child.

RESEARCH ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PLAY THERAPY

Research on Play Therapy, in general, supports the effectiveness of this therapy. In particular, there are studies that demonstrate its effectiveness on a wide range of social, emotional, behavioral and learning problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, conduct disorder, depression, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, destructive behaviors, aggression, anxiety/fear, impulsivity, low self-esteem, reading difficulty, academic performance and social withdrawal. Finally, research also supports the cross-cultural effectiveness of this therapy and its beneficial outcomes with a wide range of populations, including children who have experienced chronic illness, grief and loss, physical/sexual abuse, domestic violence, adoption disruptions, and parental issues attachment, natural disasters, and stress related to life factors such as divorce and relocation (Bratton & Ray, 2000; Drewes, 2006; Ray & Bratton, 2010; Reddy et al., 2005; LeBlanc & Ritchie, 2001).

WHAT PROBLEMS CAN BE SOLVED WITH CBPT?

Treatment of childhood phobias with CBPT

by | Sep 29, 2021 | cognitive behavioral play therapy | 0 Comments

Although fear is part of every child's development, if excessive and persistent it can turn into a specific phobia towards a certain object/situation. With CBPT the child learns coping skills to deal with feared stimuli and manage the feelings associated with fear through the use of play.
Ansia CBPT

How to fight the child’s anxiety with CBPT

by | Sep 12, 2021 | CBPT,child psychologist | 0 Comments

Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in children and adolescent. Cognitive-Behavioral Play Therapy allows the child to learn specific skills through play that allow him to acquire control and mastery over his negative emotions.
CBPT e abuso sessuale

Sexual abuse and the use of play in psychotherapy

by | Apr 2, 2021 | childhood | 0 Comments

Sexual abuse has major traumatic impact and long-term consequences on the child that can persist into adulthood. Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy (CBPT) offers children a conceptual framework that gives them the opportunity to reveal what has happened and indirectly express their emotions, thoughts and beliefs.
Play Therapy Cognitivo-Comportamentale e Divorzio

Parental divorce and CBPT

by | Feb 16, 2021 | childhood | 0 Comments

Parental divorce is considered a highly stressful experience that often accelerates manifestation of a complex range of symptoms in children. CBPT allows children who are facing a divorce during their development to acquire specific skills that will determine their ability to cope with the event.
Play Therapy Cognitivo-Comportamentale e Mutismo Selettivo

Selective Mutism and CBPT

by | Feb 1, 2021 | childhood | 0 Comments

Children with Selective Mutism have control over their silence. To change, therefore, they must take control of their speech. Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy (CBPT) is effective because it allows children to be part of the change, to experience a sense of mastery and control over speaking, and to learn more adaptive responses to situations that cause silence.

Encopresis and CBPT

by | Jan 24, 2021 | childhood | 0 Comments

Knell and Moore presented the case of a five-year-old child with primary nonretentive encopresis and a language disorder. The treatment included a structured, focused, cognitive-behavioral play therapy program in combination with a behavioral management program implemented by the parents.
intervento CBPI

Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Play intervention (CBPI) on children’s hope and school adaptation

by | Dec 21, 2020 | childhood,Play Therapy,school | 0 Comments

Children with difficult school adjustment are at risk of developing future problematic behaviors. Therefore, it is crucial to increase their coping skills and positive school adjustment in the early school years.

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