8. Play Therapy

  1. William M. Klykylo1 and
  2. Jerald Kay2
  1. Susan C. Mumford

Published Online: 30 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119962229.ch8

Clinical Child Psychiatry, Third Edition

Clinical Child Psychiatry, Third Edition

How to Cite

Mumford, S. C. (2012) Play Therapy, in Clinical Child Psychiatry, Third Edition (eds W. M. Klykylo and J. Kay), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119962229.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 1

    Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University School of Medicine, 627 S. Edwin C Moses Blvd, P.O. Box 927, Dayton, OH 45401-0927, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 927, Dayton, OH 45401-0927, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University School of Medicine, 627 S. Edwin C Moses Blvd, P.O. Box 927, Dayton, OH 45401-0927, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 30 MAR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119993346

Online ISBN: 9781119962229

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Keywords:

  • play;
  • imagination;
  • toy;
  • development;
  • cognitive behavioral play therapy;
  • psychodynamic play therapy;
  • displacement;
  • symbolism;
  • fantasy;
  • expression

Summary

The basic principles of play therapy including its history, definition, and technique, are outlined. Major figures in the development of play theory are considered, including Sigmund Freud, who maintained that play facilitates instinctual discharge as well as mastery of traumatic or unpleasant events. Melanie Klein and Anna Freud subsequently emerged as major theorists of child development and one of its natural subsets, play. Klein posited that children have a rich and complicated internal life that can be shown to the therapist through the use of toys. She saw the importance of selecting toys that were not function-specific but instead could be used by the child in a variety of ways. Anna Freud believed that play both facilitates and reflects the child's growth process. Different concepts of play and play therapy are described, including cognitive behavioral play therapy and psychodynamic play therapy. The properties of play are summarized: it is fun – pleasure for the child but also a sense of internal satisfaction; it is absorbing – can be complete in and of itself; it involves displacement – children can transfer their own affect and personal situation into the play arena; and there is a relation between imaginative play and cognitive growth. Attributes and skills demanded of the child therapist in relation to play are discussed, and recommendations are given about the materials and environment needed to create a successful play area. The chapter concludes with a summary of how to conduct child psychotherapy, and how play therapy can be integrated into the evaluation process and continuing therapy. Vignettes are used to illustrate the text.