Why Child-Centered Play Therapy Works for Every Child: The Evidence to Navigate Skepticism

Jan 12, 2024

In this episode, I address a question from Barbara in California about how to explain to others that child-centered play therapy can work for any child. This is a crucial topic because it helps justify our work and the effectiveness of the child-centered model. Barbara shares her experience at a California agency where her supervisor initially supported her interest in child-centered play therapy but now suggests incorporating other methods, claiming child-centered doesn’t work for every client. However, Barbara hasn’t been given specific examples of when child-centered wouldn’t be suitable. I emphasize the importance of understanding and articulating the efficacy of child-centered play therapy to others, especially when faced with skepticism. I recommend using evidence-based resources such as the book “Child-Centered Play Therapy Research” edited by Jennifer Baggerly, Dee Ray, and Sue Bratton, which provides empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of child-centered play therapy across various populations. Additionally, I discuss the challenges of switching between therapeutic models and the importance of maintaining consistency and trust in the child-centered approach. I also debunk the notion that child-centered play therapy is easier or less clinically driven, highlighting its depth and long-term benefits. Overall, I encourage Barbara and other practitioners to trust in the evidence and confidently advocate for the child-centered model.

Episode specific reference:
Baggerly, J. N., Ray, D. C., & Bratton, S. C. (Eds.). (2010). Child-centered play therapy research: The evidence base for effective practice. John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

Podcast HQ: https://www.playtherapypodcast.com
Play Therapy Training HQ: https://www.playtherapynow.com
APT Approved Play Therapy CE courses: https://childcenteredtraining.com
Email me: [email protected]
Follow me on Twitter: @thekidcounselor https://twitter.com/thekidcounselor

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.
listen on apple podcast
listen on google podcast
listen on spotify

Subscribe to my email newsletter JUST FOR THERAPISTS!

play therapy podcast subscribe

Get Brenna’s Latest Book

Device Detox: A Parent’s Guide To Reducing Usage, Preventing Tantrums, And Raising Happier Kids.

Device Detox Book

“Dr. Brenna Hicks does an excellent job of sketching the problem, but the book shines brightest when Dr. Hicks offers a suite of practical, evidence-based strategies for coping with screen overuse in children. A valuable book that deserves to be read by parents everywhere.”

ADAM ALTER

New York Times bestselling author of IRRESISTIBLE and DRUNK TANK PINK