Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Spring 2013

School

College of Arts and Sciences

Major

Family and Child Development

Primary Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental

Keywords

Play Therapy, Child Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Crisis Intervention, Counseling

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society

Abstract

In the field of early childhood counseling, there has been a recent trend towards play therapy. Play is often referred to as the language of children because they can communicate their thoughts and feelings in ways that they express verbally. Therapeutic play sessions give therapists an opportunity to communicate with a child on his or her level which can provide more insight as to how to proceed with the therapy. The outcomes of play therapy implementations are substantially positive, and this therapeutic practice is becoming widely-accepted in the cases of childhood abuse, children with disabilities, children in hospitals, grieving children, and children with behavioral issues. A number of counselors in the past have paved the way for current research, and their contributions have supported this field immensely. However, more empirical research is needed in order to help play therapy gain more credibility in the field of psychology and therapy. As with any psychological technique, there are many methods of play therapy, such as filial, child-centered, and Adlerian play therapies. Each of these forms offers new and different wisdom and ideas that will continue to shape the future of this therapeutic practice.