Building Trust: The Key to Engaging Parents in Play Therapy

Nov 30, 2023

In this episode, I address a crucial question from Bethany in Mississippi about how to handle corporal punishment in her community where it’s still prevalent. Although it’s not directly linked to the playroom, it involves supporting parents—a critical aspect of our role as child-centered play therapists. I emphasize the significance of not solely focusing on the child but also engaging and supporting parents as part of the therapeutic process. Parental involvement significantly impacts the success of child-centered play therapy. I highlight three fundamental considerations to navigate this delicate situation: fostering trust with parents, building relationships, and conveying genuine concern for the child’s well-being. Additionally, I discuss practical approaches: addressing parents’ unfamiliarity with alternative parenting methods, educating them on effective tools, and presenting factual insights on corporal punishment’s impacts. It’s crucial to nurture a trusting relationship with parents to initiate challenging conversations effectively. Our role extends beyond the playroom to empower parents with new tools and perspectives, ensuring a positive impact on the child’s overall well-being. Thank you, Bethany, for this essential question, underscoring the importance of working with parents, and to all listeners for being part of the Play Therapy Podcast family.

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  • Cochran, N., Nordling, W., & Cochran, J. (2010). Child-Centered Play Therapy (1st ed.). Wiley.
  • VanFleet, R., Sywulak, A. E., & Sniscak, C. C. (2010). Child-centered play therapy. Guilford Press.
  • Landreth, G. L. (2002). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (2nd ed.). Brunner-Routledge.
  • Bratton, S. C., Landreth, G. L., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S. R. (2006). Child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) treatment manual: A 10-session filial therapy model for training parents. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Benedict, Helen. Themes in Play Therapy. Used with permission to Heartland Play Therapy Institute.
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