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A Definition of Therapeutic Play

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Therapeutic play has as its main objective the emotional well being of the child. It accomplishes this through the use of play and/or the creative arts - the 'Play Therapy Tool-Kit'.

It differs from fully fledged play therapy only in degree. Someone using therapeutic play such as a Care Worker or a Teaching Assistant would normally only deal with conditions at the left hand side of the spectrum. - see Therapeutic Play Continuum.

It may be used to treat or assist in alleviating a mild, one off emotional or psychological problem that is preventing the child from functioning normally.
Therapeutic play may also be used as a method of detecting more serious problems that may be dealt with by referring on to a play therapist, child psychotherapist or other mental health specialist.

A therapeutic relationship is  established and because there is some degree of clinical responsibility clinical supervision is essential. Anyone using therapeutic play skills should be bound by a code of ethics, either PTUK's or an equivalent professional organisation which would normally be laid down by the employing agency.

Therapeutic play has a valuable function in preventing slight or mild problems becoming worse.

A recognised qualification is the PTI accredited Certificate in Therapeutic Play course.

See also: Play   Play Work    Filial Therapy  Play Therapy 

 Child Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology (CPCP)

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