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International Journal of Play Therapy - Vol 27, Iss 1

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International Journal of Play Therapy The International Journal of Play Therapy, the official journal of the Association for Play Therapy, is dedicated to publishing and disseminating reports of original research, theoretical articles, and substantive reviews of topics germane to play therapy on behalf of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, school counselors, marriage and family therapists, and other mental health professionals.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Reality play therapy: A case example.
    Many children benefit from play therapy interventions because they are developmentally appropriate and allow children to speak in their native language of play. Furthermore, children are given freedom and control in the playroom to work through problems at their own pace. Reality therapy is also grounded in the idea that freedom and control are important aspects to explore for optimal client growth. Helping children examine what they want and can control in their lives allows them to think about and evaluate their choices. Evaluating what they are doing and planning for future decisions can improve children’s quality world and positively impact their total behavior. In this article, we propose integrating reality therapy with play therapy. We provide specific information on reality play therapy activities and a case example to highlight how this might look in the playroom. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Exploring the experiences of play therapists working with children diagnosed with autism.
    The number of children diagnosed with autism continues to be on the rise (Hess, 2009), and professionals strive to gain more knowledge concerning treatment. A review of the literature reveals the use of play as 1 type of intervention for children with autism. Although there is a great deal of literature on the behavioral approaches to working with children diagnosed with autism, there is limited research on the use of child-centered play therapy (CCPT). CCPT is an approach that was designed to work with children dealing with a variety of problems. The present study used a phenomenological design to explore the experiences of play therapists utilizing CCPT with children diagnosed with autism. Ten interviews were conducted with Registered Play Therapists and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisors who utilize CCPT with children diagnosed with autism. The data collected through the interviews was organized and analyzed through NVivo software. The data analysis indicated 3 major themes and 8 subthemes. The 10 participants expressed that although there are challenges working with children diagnosed with autism, the benefits were primarily the environment, the therapeutic relationship, and their role as the therapists when utilizing CCPT. The participants found that these aspects of CCPT had the greatest influence in meeting the needs of children diagnosed with autism. Additionally, the therapists experienced the involvement of parents being of greater value with children diagnosed with autism compared with the involvement of parents with other clients. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Peer feedback within a play therapy course: A qualitative exploration.
    Feedback is an essential component of counselor development. In this study, the researcher explored the integration of a peer feedback model that involved live observation and peer feedback sessions within an introductory play therapy course. The researcher conducted interviews with 6 counseling students, who engaged in the model, to explore their perspectives about the peer feedback experience. The analysis revealed 6 broad themes: (a) class structure, (b) approach to feedback, (c) power of observation, (d) relationships and trust, (e) growth process, and (f) model improvements. Additionally, 2 of the themes had subthemes: 3 subthemes within the class structure theme: (a) experience with children, (b) live and video review feedback, and (c) peer and instructor feedback; and 2 subthemes within the model improvements theme: (a) feedback training, and (b) multiple perspectives. The researcher discusses the themes, and then presents the implications for training play therapists. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Psychopharmacology for play therapists.
    In this article, we explain why play therapists should be familiar with the effects and side effects of psychiatric medications. Nonphysician therapists are an important part of the “clinical team” in any inpatient or outpatient setting. Since the physician prescriber spends a relatively brief amount of time with a client, as opposed to the time spent with the psychotherapist, it is in the hands of the nonphysician professionals to become proficient in discovering problems and unwanted effects of medications, and report it to the client’s guardians and/or physician prescriber for reevaluation. This article focuses on the side effects of medications commonly prescribed to children with psychiatric conditions, and we explain how play therapists may tailor their play therapy interventions to cope with the side effects of medications. The side effects range from insignificant/temporary (e.g., dry mouth, stuffy nose), significant/permanent (e.g., tardive dyskinesia), to life threatening disorders (e.g., serotonin syndrome). By understanding the psychopharmacology, therapists can get a better grasp about the cause of new psychological or behavioral complaints. For example, excessive yawning during the interview may be due to side effects of Prozac (fluoxetine) rather than fatigue or sleep deprivation. But Prozac can also cause nightmares that result in sleep interruption and frequent yawning. Clinical literature indicates that by understanding the lethargy experienced in the child, the play therapist can tailor play therapy sessions to outdoor activities to allow for sun exposure and fresh air. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Part 2: A qualitative examination of play therapy and technology training and ethics.
    Technology use is rapidly expanding among children and adolescents (Harwood et al., 2011), yet it is unclear whether current trends in play therapy are adapting to address these trends. Further, little research has addressed the current training that play therapists receive in the use of technology. Ethically, therapists must obtain initial training and maintain competence in a particular treatment area to ensure effective application of a clinical intervention. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate clinicians’ training and understanding of the ethics of technology in the playroom. Participants included 13 registered play therapists (RPTs) and registered play therapist supervisors (RPT-Ss). For the present study, the researchers conducted semistructured interviews and used qualitative content analysis research methodology to complete data analysis. Results suggest a general lack of familiarity with standards and ethics and adequate training in this area, though most participants expressed prospective comfort with technological interventions if they received adequate training opportunities. Findings from the study yield implications for training opportunities and clinical interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Theraplay impact on parents and children with autism spectrum disorder: Improvements in affect, joint attention, and social cooperation.
    The goal of the study was to evaluate Theraplay using a sample of autistic children. Eight children diagnosed with mild to moderate autism participated in a 2-week intensive Theraplay intervention. The intervention consisted of each caregiver–child dyad having two 1-hr sessions each day over a 2-week period of time with a trained Theraplay therapist. Two series of measures were completed: (a) those completed during the intervention and (b) those completed during pretesting, posttesting 2 weeks following the intervention, and posttesting 3 months following the intervention. During the intervention, therapists completed a form following each session evaluating both the child and parent. Measures completed pre- and postintervention a caregiver–child interaction task (MIM) at pretesting and 2 posttesting time points. In order to evaluate change across time for the interaction task, a scoring system for the MIM interactions was adapted, per McKay and colleagues (1996). Data for intervention measures revealed that both parents and children significantly improved across session according to the therapist evaluation. These finding suggest that as the intervention progressed, both children and parents became better at interacting during the therapy sessions. Significant changes were observed in the MIM interaction tasks. Overall, caregiver–child dyads scored significantly higher on the MIM interaction task from pretesting to posttesting. Further, dyads scored significantly higher on several specific dimensions. The patterns of these findings lend support to the validity and usefulness of Theraplay as an intervention for special-needs children. Future studies should utilize larger and more diverse samples. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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