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supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing a
wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems,
including: children whose problems are related to life stressors, such
as divorce, death, relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness,
assimilate stressful experiences, physical and sexual abuse, domestic
violence, and natural disasters (Bratton, Ray, Rhine, & Jones, 2005;
LeBlanc & Ritchie, 2001; Lin & Bratton, 2015; Ray, Armstrong,
Balkin, & Jayne, 2015; Reddy, Files-Hall, & Schaefer, 2005).
Play therapy helps children:
reviews of over 100 play therapy outcome studies (Bratton, Ray, Rhine,
& Jones, 2005; LeBlanc & Ritchie, 2001; Lin & Bratton, 2015;
Ray, Armstrong, Balkin, & Jayne, 2015). have found that the
over-all treatment effect of play therapy ranges from moderate to high
positive effects. Play therapy has proven equally effective across age,
gender, and presenting problem. Additionally, positive treatment effects
were found to be greatest when there was a parent actively involved in
the child's treatment.
play therapy session varies in length but usually last about 30 to 50
minutes. Sessions are usually held weekly. Research suggests that it
takes an average of 20 play therapy sessions to resolve the problems of
the typical child referred for treatment. Of course, some children may
improve much faster while more serious or ongoing problems may take
longer to resolve (Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002).
The practice of play therapy requires extensive specialized education, training, and experience. A play therapist is a licensed mental health professional who has earned a Master's or Doctorate degree in a mental health field with considerable general clinical experience and supervision. In addition to graduate school and licensing requirements, play therapists are required to complete many hours of specialized play therapy training.
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