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A Definition of Therapeutic Play

Therapeutic play has as its main objective improving the emotional well being of the child. It accomplishes this through the use of play and/or the creative arts - the 'Play Therapy Tool-KitTM'.

It differs from fully fledged play therapy only in degree. Someone using therapeutic play such as a Care Worker or a Teaching Assistant would normally only deal with conditions at the left hand side (less severe) side of the spectrum. - see Therapeutic Play Continuum. The recognition by PTI that suitably trained and experienced professionals may help to alleviate psychological problems through the use of play, as well as Certified Play Therapists, has been a central point of PTIís policy since 2003.  PTAU supports fully supports this policy and believes that restricting the use of therapeutic play to Certified Play Therapists alone disadvantages very large numbers of children that need help.

Therapeutic play may be used to treat or assist in alleviating a mild, one off emotional or psychological problem that is preventing the child from functioning normally.

Therapeutic play may also be used as a method of detecting more serious problems that may be dealt with by referring on to a play therapist, child psychotherapist or other mental health specialist. A therapeutic relationship is established and because there is some degree of clinical responsibility clinical supervision is essential. Anyone practising therapeutic play skills should be bound by an ethical framework, either PTAU's or an equivalent professional organisation which would normally be laid down by the commissioning agency.

Therapeutic play also has a valuable function in preventing slight or mild problems becoming worse.

A recognised qualification is the PTI accredited Certificate in Therapeutic Play course.

See also:
Play    |    Play Work    |    Therapeutic Play    |    Filial Play Therapy    |    Play Therapy    |    Child Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology (CPCP)    |    Therapeutic Play Continuum


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