SMART Goals and Child-Centered Play Therapy: How to Bridge the Gap in a School Setting

Jan 4, 2024

In this episode, I respond to a question from Emery in New Jersey, a school-based child-centered play therapist, about setting therapeutic goals in a school setting that emphasizes SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals. Emery highlights the challenge of aligning the child-centered model with the school’s goal-setting approach. I address this by emphasizing that the child-centered model does have specific and measurable goals, contrary to common misconceptions. I break down the four universal outcomes of child-centered play therapy—increased self-esteem, increased regulation, increased worldview, and increased emotional vocabulary—and explain how these outcomes can be measured and applied as SMART goals.

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References:

  • 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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