Case Study: Child Play Study

Initially developed at the turn of the 20th century, today play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methodologies, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve problems through the use of toys, nurturing, competency, aggressive-release, real-life, fantasy/dress up, and creative expression and emotion release (Giordano, Landreth, & Jones, 2010).

Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them (Axline, 1947; Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002). Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Play therapy provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.

Play therapy is implemented as a treatment of choice in mental health, school, agency, developmental, hospital, residential, and recreational settings, with clients of all ages (Carmichael, 2006; Reddy, Files-Hall & Schaefer, 2005).