This section tells you a little bit about the theoretical principals of
play & creative arts therapy. Modern play therapy is based upon principles
developed by Virginia Axline. Play Therapists use a Play Therapy Tool Kit. Play therapy has emerged as a
mainstream mental health profession alongside counselling and psychotherapy
with its own professional organisation such a
, British Association of Play Therpists and
, Play Therapy United Kingdom.
Much of current play therapy practice is based upon Virginia Axline’s
- Develop's a warm and friendly relationship
with the child.
- Accepts the child as she or he is.
- Establishes a feeling of permission in
the relationship so that the child feels free to express his or her
- Is alert to recognise the feelings the
child is expressing and reflects these feelings back in such a manner
that the child gains insight into his/her behaviour.
- Maintains a deep respect for the child’s
ability to solve his/her problems and gives the child the opportunity
to do so. The responsibility to make choices and to institute change
is the child’s.
- Does not attempt to direct the child’s
actions or conversations in any manner. The child leads the way, the
- Does not hurry the therapy along. It is
a gradual process and must be recognised as such by the therapist.
Only establishes those limitations necessary to anchor the therapy to
the world of reality and to make the child aware of his/her
responsibility in the relationship.
In applying these principles a
therapist uses a comprehensive Play Therapy Tool Kit which will enable the therapist to follow the child's
lead.Axline was influenced
by the person centred approach of Carl Rogers. She is recognised as the
originator of non directive Play Therapy. Her well known book 'Dibs: In
Search of Self' written in 1964 which describes how she worked with Dibs and
how he was able to heal himself over a period of time is an excellent
introduction to the subject. Axline in turn influenced Violet Oaklander
who added a gestalt therapy approach to play therapy and extended the
'tool-kit' concept as described in her book 'Windows to Our Children'.
The techniques and methods are the tools in
the tool-kit of a play & creative arts therapist. The
more skills or tools a therapist has the better she/he can adapt to new situations,
difficulties or problems and follow the lead given by children in the
The main 'tools' are:
- Creative Visualisation, also known as Guided Imagary
- Art - Drawing
In Play Therapy all creative tools are offered. In Creative Arts Therapy, tools are selected depending on the needs of the client. For adult referrals often sand tray, drawing and clay are the main mediums that are used by our therapist.
For adults wanting creative arts sessions please note it will NOT be talking therapy Counselling or Art Therapy. It WILL be an opportunity to access Therapeutic Creative Arts with a qualified Play & Creative Arts Therapist along side you as you explore your thoughts
and feelings about life challenges or personal issues.