ERIC Number: ED435889
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Jul
Play Therapy Theories: A Comparison of Three Approaches.
Astramovich, Randall L.
Client-centered, psychoanalytic, and release and structure play therapy approaches have diverse philosophical viewpoints about the therapist's role, goals of therapy, and use of structuring in play therapy. While each approach aims to help children cope with emotional difficulties, the methods employed and the play therapy process differ substantially across each of the theories. The client-centered method emphasizes the facilitative role of the therapist including the qualities of genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and empathic understanding. This approach's primary goal is self-directed growth and change in the child. In child-centered play theory, structuring is considered an important process early in play therapy. In psychoanalytic play therapy the therapist encourages the development of a transference relationship where the child projects early experiences, feelings, and thoughts onto the psychoanalyst. The main objective of this play therapy method is to promote communication of wishes and fantasies so that children develop a tolerance of their feelings and can function fully at their level of cognitive development. The emphasis of therapeutic structure in psychoanalytic play therapy is upon consistency in the play setting. In release/structured play therapy the therapist assumes an active role in planning the play therapy process. In release therapy the therapist provides security, support, and materials needed to recreate a traumatic event so that the child may assimilate the negative thoughts and feelings associated with a trauma. As its name implies, structured play therapy emphasizes the creation of a structured environment for working through the child's problems. (Contains 11 references.) (Author/MKA)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the National Conference of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (New Orleans, LA, October 27-31, 1999).