Non-Directive Play Therapy

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The Association for Play Therapy 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 psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development’ (APT, 2015). The application of play-based interventions in therapeutic settings with children dates back to the 1930s to Hermine Hug-Hellmuth, Anna Freud and Melanie Klein (Schaefer, 2011) and has continued to be adapted and developed through the years. The significance of play, not only for its developmental value but also for its therapeutic powers, has since been recognised by many theorists. According to Landreth (2012, p12) ‘play…show more content…
This book details narratives from their sessions, and in effect, provides examples of both the use and the importance of the three core conditions in non-directive play therapy. In the book Axline (1990) speaks of her hope to help Dibs to distinguish between his feelings and his actions, and also her desire for him to assume responsibility for himself and gain his psychological independence. In order to achieve this, it was necessary for Axline as the therapist to build a relationship with Dibs that was congruent. ‘Dibs began to cry. ‘Dibs no go home’, he sobbed. ‘Dibs stay’. ‘I know you really would like to stay’, I said. ‘But your time for today is up and you will have to go…Sometimes it is not easy to do some of the things we have to do…But there are some things we have to do, even though we don’t want to’’ (ibid, p38). Axline goes on to recall how it would have been easy for her to have consoled Dibs or to extend their session, but asks what value would that have been for Dibs. Speaking of congruence, Landreth (2012, p66) finds that ‘realness is being aware of and accepting one’s own feelings and reactions with insight into the accompanying motivation and being willing to be oneself and to express these feelings and reactions when appropriate. At such times the therapist is being real or genuine and is…show more content…
This involves the therapist gaining an understanding of the way in which the client views themselves and the world (Thorne, 2007). They enter the client’s world ‘as if’ it were their own, while never forgetting it is not theirs (ibid). ‘This means that the therapist senses accurately the feelings and personal meanings that the client is experiencing and communicates this acceptant understanding to the client’ (Henderson and Kirschenbaum, 1989, p136). This in turn allows the client to more clearly sense and express their

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