Play Therapy’s “Progress Puzzle”: Navigating Norms, Progress, and Expectations

Sep 25, 2023

In this episode of the Play Therapy Podcast, I respond to a thoughtful question from Julia in California. Julia’s concern revolves around children’s progress not aligning with the standard timeline or phases seen in therapy. She specifically asks about children not moving into the “work phase” or not displaying aggressive themes in child-centered play therapy. I address the importance of articulation, emphasizing that behavior often worsens before it improves as therapy stirs emotions and forces children to grapple with their issues. Additionally, I explain how the playroom becomes a safe space for children to balance their behavior and explore their playful side, aiding them in transitioning their newfound skills to other environments. Lastly, I emphasize the significance of trusting the child-centered therapy process and being patient as progress may take more time than expected.

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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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