Standard Article

Play Therapy

  1. Louise Silvern,
  2. Brook McClintic,
  3. Amy K. Nuttall

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0690

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Silvern, L., McClintic, B. and Nuttall, A. K. 2010. Play Therapy. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Colorado at Boulder

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The term play therapy is employed in at least two ways to describe child psychotherapy. First, the term sometimes refers to particular child psychotherapy approaches that centrally emphasize children's play as a means of therapeutic communication and as a modality through which children's dilemmas can be solved (e.g., Davenport & Bourgeois, 2008; Landreth & Bratton, 2006; Schaefer, 1993). Second, the term play therapy is sometimes imprecisely employed to describe individual child psychotherapy generally, given that virtually all therapies rely on children's play at least as a mode of communication (Johnson, Rasbury, & Siegel, 1997). Child therapy approaches, however, do differ in whether play is considered relatively central versus relatively incidental to the process of change.


  • child therapy;
  • play;
  • play therapy;
  • treatment methods