Play Therapy Canada

The Different Applications of Therapeutic Play

Site Index

Most of us understand that play is good for us – that it has a therapeutic value.  It helps children of all ages, gender and cultures to learn, communicate and develop their personalities.

Similarly creative arts therapies help in the same way.  They are also used to unlock children's potential and make sense of their life experiences. The child can express their feelings without having to use words.

Play & Play Work – All children should be encouraged to play frequently and spontaneously purely for their enjoyment with no other objective.  Play work may also be used in nurseries, play schemes or primary schools to help children to learn or as in a play scheme to provide a safe environment for a child when the parent/carer(s) are absent.  As a bonus there will be a therapeutic or child development benefit.  Play Workers are not Play Therapists.

Therapeutic Play improves the emotional well being / emotional literacy of the child.  It may be used to alleviate a mild, one off  emotional, behaviour or psychological problem that is preventing the child from functioning normally. Therapeutic play is often used to prevent a minor problem becoming worse.   Practitioners of therapeutic play may be other professionals such as teaching staff, nurses, social workers, care workers etc who have received adequate training, such as a 'Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills' accredited by Play Therapy International and Play Therapy Canada. They also need to receive regular clinical supervision and use clinical governance procedures to manage the quality of their work..

Filial Therapy uses techniques such as baby massage as well as play to assist infants, normally under the age of 3, in their mental and emotional development which for some reason is impaired.  In some cases the filial therapist may work with the parent/Carer(s) as well as with the child.  Its objective is to prevent negative infant experiences becoming deeper seated emotional problems later in life.  Therapy may extend beyond the age of 3 and then may become family therapy. Therapeutic play should be an important part of family therapy.
About Play Therapy
Users & Commisioners
Professional Practitioners
Members' Services
Joining PTC
Conferences & Events
Publications & Books
Links to Related Sites
Consultancy Services
Contacting PTC




Home Page

Play Therapy uses a variety of play and creative arts methods - the 'Play Therapy Tool Kit' - to address chronic, mild and moderate psychological and emotional conditions in children that are causing behavioural problems. The Play Therapist forms a short to medium term therapeutic relationship and often works with the child’s peers, siblings, family, school etc as well.  A Play Therapist is required to have successfully completed a post-graduate Diploma level course such as one accredited by Play Therapy International & Play Therapy Canada as well as receiving regular clinical supervision and using clinical governance procedures to manage the quality of their work.
  Child psychotherapy, clinical psychology and psychiatry address more severe mental health and personality problems.  Practitioners in these fields may use therapeutic play in addition to ‘talking therapies’ and possibly, in the case of psychiatry, medication.  Support may be provided by a Play Therapist working in a multi-agency team.
  Helping Children How therapeutic play works
  Deciding what to do Finding the right help
Ó Copyright Play Therapy Canada 2006 Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

PTC web site designed by Fern Hill Associates Ltd