What is Play Therapy?

From the Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association (APPTA):

“Play Therapy is founded on a number of theoretical models whereby the trained play therapist utilizes the power of play, within a therapeutic relationship, to relieve suffering, prevent or resolve emotional and behavioral difficulties and to achieve optimal growth and development of children (or older individuals).”

Play Therapy Northern Territory, along with the APPTA,supports the University of Northern Texas’ meaning on play therapy:

“Play therapy is to children what counselling is to adults. Play therapy utilizes play, children’s natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings more easily through toys instead of words.”

The Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as:

“The systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psycho-social difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”

In the textbook Play Therapy: the Art of the Relationship (2nd ed.), Landreth (2002) defined child-centred play therapy:

“A dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child (or person of any age) and a therapist trained in play therapy procedures who provieds selected play materials ad facilitates the development of a safe relationship for the child (or person of any age) to fully express and explore self (feelings, thoughts, experiences, and behaviors) through play, the child’s natural medium of communication, for optimal growth and development. (p. 16)”