Integrating Play Therapy in the Home-Based Setting Module

Module Sections:

Stages of Play Therapy

Stages of Play Therapy

1. Exploratory Stage

Child explores the play room, their role, and the therapist's role

2. Testing for Protection Stage

Child begins acting out and "testing the waters" in regard to respect, safety, and protection. If the therapist "passes the test", then therapy can begin.

3. Dependency Stage

The child will begin disclosing and confronting their own emotions and pain. 

4. Therapeutic Growth Stage

Once the pain has been confronted, the child will feel more empowered and act out less.

5. Termination Stage

The child now has a new sense of control and empowerment and begins the stage of saying goodbye to the therapist and the safe, play environment.

The first and most basic stage is the exploratory stage. This begins immediately with the first session in which the child begins to explore the play room, and understand their role, and the therapist's role. As soon as the child begins to understand the roles of each individual, he/she moves into the second stage, the testing for protection stage. At this point, the child may begin acting out and 'testing the water' in regard to respect, safety, and protection. If the therapist, in a sense, passes their test, therapy can begin.

The dependency stage hits the real core of the therapy experience. This is where the child will begin disclosing and confronting their own emotions and pain. Once this pain has been confronted, the child enters the therapeutic growth stage in which they begin to feel more empowered and act out less. As the child gains a new sense of control and empowerment, the termination stage begins. The child must understand that they will soon have to say goodbye to the therapist and the safe, play environment. (Filley, D. Fundamentals of Play Therapy, KC Play Therapy Institute)

Audio Companion: Integrating Play Therapy