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WU Sociology Play Therapy Analysis The Therapeutic Strategies Essay

WU Sociology Play Therapy Analysis The Therapeutic Strategies Essay


Play Therapy Analysis

Play therapy is a therapeutic approach that recognizes the importance of play as a means for children to communicate, process emotions, and work through challenges. This assignment involves analyzing a play therapy session and considering how additional expressive therapies can complement the work with the child. The selected video for analysis is the Child-Centered Play Therapy session by Routledgetherapy.

Therapeutic Strategies and Impact: In the video, the practitioner employs several effective strategies to engage and communicate with the child. These strategies include:

  1. Non-directive Approach: The therapist allows the child to lead the play session, giving the child control over the play and choices of activities. This empowers the child and establishes a sense of safety and autonomy.
  2. Reflective Listening: The therapist actively listens to the child’s verbal and nonverbal communication, reflecting back the child’s feelings, thoughts, and statements. This validates the child’s experiences and encourages further communication.
  3. Follow the Child’s Lead: The therapist follows the child’s cues and interests during play, demonstrating acceptance and understanding of the child’s world.
  4. Use of Open-Ended Questions: The therapist asks open-ended questions that encourage the child to express themselves and explore their thoughts and feelings more deeply.
  5. Validation and Positive Reinforcement: The therapist validates the child’s emotions, efforts, and creativity during the play session, which fosters a positive therapeutic relationship.

These strategies have a significant impact on the session. The child feels heard, understood, and supported, creating an environment where they can freely express themselves through play. This builds trust and rapport, leading to emotional exploration and healing.

Interpreting the Child’s Behavior and Play: During the session, the child engages in play that includes themes of rescue missions, building, and exploration. The child displays a combination of curiosity, excitement, and moments of frustration. The themes observed might reflect the child’s need for mastery, exploration, and a desire for a sense of control in their world. The child’s behavior raises questions about their emotions, experiences, and interests outside the play session. Topics to explore further in future sessions could include family dynamics, school experiences, and friendships.

Additional Expressive Therapies: In addition to play therapy, several expressive therapies could be beneficial for the child:

  1. Art Therapy: Incorporating art can provide another mode of expression for the child. Drawing, painting, or sculpting can help the child communicate thoughts and feelings that might be challenging to express verbally.
  2. Sand Tray Therapy: Using miniature figures and a sandbox, the child can create scenes that reflect their inner world. This technique can offer insights into the child’s perceptions and emotions.
  3. Music Therapy: Music can be a powerful tool for emotional expression and regulation. Engaging the child in musical activities can provide an alternative way to process their feelings.
  4. Drama Therapy: This approach allows the child to role-play and enact scenarios, potentially providing insights into their experiences and promoting emotional understanding.
  5. Narrative Therapy: Incorporating storytelling can help the child externalize their challenges and create new narratives that foster resilience and growth.

In conclusion, the Child-Centered Play Therapy session demonstrates the importance of allowing children to express themselves through play. The therapeutic strategies used by the practitioner effectively engage the child and create a safe space for emotional exploration. Themes observed in the child’s play offer insights into their experiences and emotions. Adding other expressive therapies could enhance the child’s therapeutic experience, providing additional avenues for communication and healing.

WU Sociology Play Therapy Analysis The Therapeutic Strategies Essay




“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

—Fred Rogers

Play therapy is a key treatment modality in social work with children, but it may be less familiar to many mental health professionals. If a social worker has only been trained to conduct certain types of talk therapy geared toward adolescents or adults, it may be challenging to learn how to transfer and apply some of these therapeutic skills in a significantly different format like play therapy. Some of the typical strategies social workers use to engage and build rapport with older clients may look and feel different when conducting play therapy with a very young child. A social worker may feel unsure how to best utilize the session time or may wonder how to discern if play therapy sessions are yielding progress. One of the best ways to gain familiarity with any unfamiliar treatment modality is to observe and study sessions conducted by experts.

In this Assignment, you watch and analyze an experienced play therapist at work and consider how additional expressive therapies could supplement future work with the child.

To prepare:

Review the Learning Resources on play and expressive therapies.

Review the Child-Centered Play Therapy video by Routledgetherapy in the Learning Resources. As you watch the video, consider the strategies used to engage the child and themes drawn from the child’s behavior.

Submit a paper in which you:

  • Analyze the therapeutic strategies the practitioner used to engage and communicate with the child. Explain how these strategies impacted the session.
  • Describe the conclusions you would draw from elements of the child’s behavior and play. In your description, identify themes you observed, questions the child’s behavior raises, and topics the social worker could explore further in future sessions.

Identify other expressive therapies that the practitioner could also use with this client and explain how they could be beneficial.

References to utilize and cite.

Cohen Konrad, S. (2020). Child and family practice: A relational perspective (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Chapter 7, “Play and Expressive Therapies” (pp. 171–208)

Glover, G., & Landreth, G. L. (2016). Child-centered play therapyLinks to an external site.. In K. J. O’Connor, C. E. Schaefer, & L. D. Braverman (Eds.),?Handbook of play therapy (2nd ed.)?(pp. 93–118). John Wiley & Sons.

Sarah, B., Parson, J., Renshaw, K., & Stagnitti, K. (2021). Can children’s play themes be assessed to inform play therapy practice?Links to an external site. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry,?26(1), 257–267.

Association for Play Therapy. (2011, January 29).?Play therapy works!Links to an external site.?[Video].      YouTube.?

Routledgetherapy. (2012, May 16). Child-centered play therapy DVD previewLinks to an external site. [Video]. YouTube.

Note: If you would prefer to view the full play therapy session,       see the Walden Library: Landreth, G. (Producer). (2012). Child-centered play therapy: A clinical sessionLinks to an external site. [Video]. Center       for Play Therapy.

Parker, M. M., Hergenrather, K., Smelser, Q.,      & Kelly, C. T. (2021). Exploring child-centered play      therapy and trauma: A systematic review of literatureLinks to an external site.. International      Journal of Play Therapy, 30(1), 2–13.      https://doi.org/10.1037/pla0000136.supp

Thomas, D. (n.d). Play therapy across the lifespanLinks to an external site..      https://www.playtherapypodcast.org/


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