Play therapy is the oldest and most popular form of child therapy in clinical practice and is widely considered by practitioners to be uniquely responsive to children’s developmental needs. Play promotes normal child development and can help alleviate emotional and behavioral difficulties. Even so, play-based interventions have often been criticized for the lack of an empirical base to prove their efficacy. In an era of cost-containment, the need to provide evidence of the effectiveness of interventions is increasingly important in order to gain the general acceptance of third-party payers, mental health professionals, and consumers.
This book answers the call from professional and managed-care organizations for research-based treatment methods with proven efficacy. It describes a range of play interventions that feature flexibility in service delivery and across settings, child populations and age groups. The editors and their contributors detail vital treatment components, including interventions that accommodate the developmental level of the child, target functional behaviors and competencies in children and parents, use psychometrically sound and clinically sensitive outcome assessments, and define successful outcomes by statistically meaningful methods. Clinicians and researchers alike will benefit from this landmark text and will gain a fuller understanding of the key ingredients for developing future play interventions.