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Play Therapy

The topic of this paper was the provision of play therapy courses in marriage and family therapy (MFT) programs. Although marriage and family therapists encounter child clients, they are often poorly-trained to interact effectively with them. Play therapy was proposed as a means of enabling therapists to better assist young children in the therapeutic process. Through a qualitative review of literature, the following areas were discussed: a) the historical development of play therapy; b) the applicability of play therapy to children, which meets their developmental needs and abilities; and c) the utilization of play therapy strategies. This discussion also showed that professionals working with children often rely on play therapy. However, without appropriate training, their application of play therapy will not achieve intended results.

Although children are often direct or indirect clients in marriage and family therapy, research studies have shown that marriage and family therapists are not well-trained to work with them. This lack of training is manifested in their inadequate knowledge of child development and their unfamiliarity with interacting with children (Johnson & Thomas, 1999; Korner & Brown, 1990; Ruble, 1999; Setchel, 1998, cited in Hanney & Kozlowska, 2002). In most marriage and family therapy (MFT) programs, marriage and family therapists are primarily trained in using theories and techniques such as narrative therapy, deconstructive of narrative and circular questioning, which rely on language as an integral component of the therapeutic process (Benson, 1991; Cederborg, 1997; Clarke, 1999, cited in Hanney & Kozlowska, 2002). However, these therapeutic approaches effectively exclude infants, toddlers, preschool and young school-aged children who lack the cognitive capacity to utilize verbal communication to reveal their emotions (Hanney & Kozlowska, 2002).

In order to address this deficit the de...

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Play Therapy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:16, May 28, 2020, from