Introduction of Play Therapy

Introduction to Child-Centered Play Therapy
This workshop will explore and practice the eight basic principles of non-directive play therapy as set forth by Virginia Axline (1969).  These principles provide the foundation for child-centered play therapy as it is practiced today.  Unlike more behaviorally-oriented therapies, child-centered play therapy is not directed toward specific problems or populations, but are generic in nature.  That is, they aim at improving self-esteem and the feelings underlying inappropriate behaviors.  Feelings such as frustration, anger, performance anxiety, separation anxiety, fear of abandonment, or concerns about personal safety which manifest in inappropriate and maladaptive behaviors can be addressed through encouraging the child to play them out in the safe, interpersonal atmosphere of a play session and in the presence of a warm, caring adult (Guerney, 1983).
Videotape vignettes and an interactive format will be utilized to highlight materials presented.

Learning Objectives – Participants will
1.     articulate the essence of play therapy as a natural mode of communication for young children in which play is the language and toys are a child’s words;
2.     describe the essential nature of the relationship in play therapy;
3.     discuss the role of permissiveness while providing appropriate limitations;
4.     explain expression and reflection of feelings in the context of play therapy;
5.     develop a representation of an inclusive space;
6.     demonstrate the basic concepts of child-centered play therapy; and, 
7.     recognize the developmental needs of children and how play therapy can be a positive intervention when development is not progressing in a typical fashion.