Child-Centered Play Therapy

Hardcover (Print)
Rent from
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 07/27/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $27.95
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 26%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (10) from $27.95   
  • New (7) from $27.95   
  • Used (3) from $32.85   


"Child-centered play therapy (CCPT) is a powerful, empirically supported approach that allows children in distress to freely express their feelings and take the lead in solving their own problems. This practical, instructive, and authoritative book offers a complete overview of CCPT: what it is, why it works, and how to conduct it with clients. The authors are master clinicians who concisely explain core therapeutic principles and techniques, using vivid case material to illustrate the concepts discussed." "The introductory section presents essential background information, comparing and contrasting CCPT with other widely practiced play therapy approaches. Part II takes a closer look at the nuts and bolts of intervention. Flexible yet systematic guidelines are provided for setting up a playroom, structuring sessions, and understanding and responding empathically to children's play themes. The role of parents in therapy is covered in Part III. Chapters demonstrate the process of consulting with parents, involving them in treatment, and helping them interact with their child in more productive ways. Part IV offers insights into treating a broad range of child and family difficulties, including anxiety disorders, trauma, divorce, and attachment problems. Other key topics include how to deal with challenging behaviors in session, maintain appropriate boundaries, collaborate effectively with other professionals, and develop competence for working with culturally diverse clients. Rounding out the volume, Part V distills the evidence base for CCPT and describes recommended training resources." Rich with clinical wisdom, this accessible guide is invaluable reading for play, art, and expressive therapists; child psychologists; social workers; counselors; family therapists; and child psychiatrists. It is a highly informative supplemental text for clinically oriented graduate-level courses.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

British Journal of Play Therapy

"VanFleet, Sywulak, and Sniscak bring with them perspectives developed over many years of experience in working with children and families with complex needs....The authors speak collectively with an authoritative but also warmly empathic voice....Child-Centered Play Therapy provides a rich and valuable addition to the existing literature on non-directive play and will be a much welcomed book in that it combines rich theoretical and contextual frameworks along with clear and relevant practice examples to address a wide range of difficulties and in a variety of settings. In these days when the notion of child-centred practice has become a loosely applied and often misunderstood term the strength of this book lies in its synthesis of clear practice principles, well illustrated case material, and specific suggestions for dos and donts in child-centred therapy. For professionals who need to remind themselves of fundamental tenets on which their practice is based and want to remain well grounded in delivering evidence-based therapy, this book will be handy as a refresher for their skills....It should be required reading, alongside other acknowledged texts, in any introductory play therapy and child psychotherapy course."--British Journal of Play Therapy
Play Therapy Magazine

"Offers a comprehensive introduction into the world of child-centered play therapy, its efficacy, and application. The text makes several strong contributions to the practice of CCPT....Appropriate for the novice play therapist. It offers a plethora of insight for the experienced play therapist as well, and is an easy and enjoyable read."--Play Therapy Magazine
Choice Reviews
The authors are all experienced with CCPT....Chapters on touch and cultural considerations in the use of CCPT are especially interesting. Highly recommended. Upper-division graduates through faculty and professionals.—Choice Reviews
From the Publisher

"This is one of those rare books that combine rich theoretical and contextual frameworks with clear and relevant practice examples. At a time when the term 'child-centered play therapy' is often loosely applied or misunderstood, this book could not be more timely. The authors take CCPT back to its fundamental principles, speaking with an authoritative but also warmly empathic voice. Chapters are illustrated with helpful case material and specific suggestions for therapeutic 'dos and don'ts.' The book will be invaluable as a refresher for experienced play therapists or as a starting point for students and others just getting acquainted with the principles of nondirective play. It should be required reading in any introductory play therapy or child psychotherapy course."--Geraldine Thomas MSc, Filial/Play Therapist and Instructor, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, London, UK
"A practical guide for beginning and experienced child clinicians. This book is unique in the depth of its coverage of the essential ingredients of child-centered play therapy, from how to set up a therapy room to recognizing and interpreting play themes and setting limits with child clients. The authors seamlessly share their wealth of knowledge and expertise, offering a generous mix of applications and rich case studies. They tackle such important issues as the use of touch in therapy, cultural considerations, and research evidence for play therapy. This well-rounded and easy-to-read work is a 'must have.'"--Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S, Director of Clinical Training, Astor Services for Children and Families, Poughkeepsie, New York
"Finally, a book that teaches and illustrates the essential 'how-to' details of child-centered play therapy (CCPT)! The approach is presented in such a comprehensive, explicit format that whether you are a beginning play therapist or an experienced practitioner or professor, the book has tremendous value. Drawing on their vast knowledge of the field, the authors address the importance of the relationship, how to work with parents, and practical applications for children with a wide variety of psychological difficulties. Using detailed case studies, they show how CCPT can enhance anyone's play therapy style. This book is a 'must' for teaching CCPT and should be on the shelves of all therapists interested in using play to help children heal."--Heidi Gerard Kaduson, PhD, RPT-S, Director, The Play Therapy Training Institute, Inc., Hightstown, New Jersey 

"This book provides excellent explanations of the critical skills that therapists need to practice child-centered play therapy. It presents a well-conceptualized discussion of common themes that children present in play therapy, and strategies for understanding and utilizing these in the treatment process. It also offers a thorough discussion of the application of child-centered play therapy to a variety of common problems, as well as how to handle difficult behaviors in session. Both graduate students and seasoned play therapists will find this book significantly expands the way they think about one of the most widely practiced forms of play therapy."--Kevin O'Connor, PhD, RPT-S, Distinguished Professor, California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University


"The authors are all experienced with CCPT....Chapters on touch and cultural considerations in the use of CCPT are especially interesting. Highly recommended. Upper-division graduates through faculty and professionals."--Choice

"The authors are all experienced with CCPT....Chapters on touch and cultural considerations in the use of CCPT are especially interesting. Highly recommended. Upper-division graduates through faculty and professionals."--Choice
Play Therapy Magazine

"Offers a comprehensive introduction into the world of Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT), its efficacy, and application. The text makes several strong contributions to the practice of CCPT....Appropriate for the novice play therapist. It offers a plethora of insight for the experienced play therapist as well, and is an easy and enjoyable read."--Play Therapy Magazine
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606239025
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/3/2010
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 479,003
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, is President of the Family Enhancement and Play Therapy Center in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. She has trained thousands worldwide in the practice of child-centered play therapy and Filial Therapy, and is the author of numerous books, articles, and DVDs on these topics. Dr. VanFleet is a past president and board chair of the Association for Play Therapy. She is a recipient of the Bernard G. and Louise F. Guerney Award for Outstanding Contributions to Practice and Training in Filial Therapy, from the Association for Filial and Relationship Enhancement Methods, and of the Play Therapy Professional Education and Training Award, from the Association for Play Therapy.

Andrea E. Sywulak, PhD, RPT-S, is in private practice in Southampton, Pennsylvania, specializing in the treatment of families with young children. She has trained many professionals in child-centered play therapy and Filial Therapy and regularly supervises professionals in their use of these methods. She conducted some of the first research on Filial Therapy, has authored book chapters and manuals, and has presented at international conferences.

Cynthia Caparosa Sniscak, LPC, RPT-S, is in private practice with children and families in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, specializing in trauma and attachment problems. She has trained many professionals and authored several book chapters. Ms. Sniscak presents at international conferences and provides supervision in child-centered play therapy and Filial Therapy. She is a recipient of the Outstanding Contributions to Professional Training in Filial Therapy Award from the Family Enhancement and Play Therapy Center.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Part I. Background And Relevance

Chapter 1 The Importance of Play 3

What Is Play? 3

Play and Child Development 6

Changing Trends in Children's Play 7

Assumptions about the Therapeutic Use of Play 8

Chapter 2 A Brief Overview of Play Therapy 11

Types of Play Therapy 13

Why Play Therapy? 18

Chapter 3 History, Theory, Principles, and Variations of Child-Centered Play Therapy 20

Building the Relationship 21

Acceptance of the Child 23

Establishing a Sense of Permissiveness 25

Empathic Recognition and Reflection of Feelings 26

Respecting the Child's Ability to Solve Problems 30

Letting the Child Lead the Way 32

Treating Play Therapy as a Gradual Process That Cannot Be Hurried 37

The Importance of Limits 38

Variations of CCPT 41

Part II. Logistics And Techniques

Chapter 4 Playroom Set-Up and Logistics 45

Playroom Set-Up 47

Principles of Toy Selection 49

Toys for Older Children 52

Messy Materials 53

Controversy about Aggression Toys 54

Arrangement of Toys 55

Logistics 56

Explaining CCPT to Children 58

Chapter 5 The Four Skills of Child-Centered Play Therapy 59

Structuring 59

Empathic Listening 65

Child-Centered Imaginary Play 75

Limit Setting 78

Are You Really Being Nondirective? 86

Chapter 6 Recognition and Interpretation of Play Themes 88

Recognition of Play Themes 89

Critical Considerations in Understanding Play Themes 90

Thematic Stages in CCPT 90

Levels of Interpretation 92

Understanding Play Themes in Context 94

Common Play Themes 99

Suggestions about the Interpretation of Play Themes 99

Documentation of Themes and Progress 100

Part III. Parent Involvement

Chapter 7 Engaging Parents (and Teachers) in Child-Centered Play Therapy 105

Introducing Parents to CCPT: The Importance of Empathy 106

Establishing Treatment Goals 108

Handling Parental Resistance 109

Regular Meetings with Parents 112

Handling Behavior Issues 114

Preventing Behavior Problems 118

Helping Children with Their Feelings 119

Handling of School Issues 121

Other School-Related Issues 123

Confidentiality and Consent to Treatment 124

Summary 126

Chapter 8 Filial Therapy 127

The Value of FT to Children 128

The Value of FT to Parents 129

Conducting FT 132

The Importance of Training in FT 133

Where to Get Training in FT 134

Other Sources of Information about FT 135

Part IV. Practical Applications And Issues

Chapter 9 Child-Centered Play Therapy with Different Presenting Problems 139

Anxiety 140

Divorce 143

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder 146

Developmental Disability 147

Attachment Problems 148

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 151

Perfectionism/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 154

Medical Illness 157

Severe Trauma and Attachment Problems in Adolescents 159

Acute Trauma 162

Oppositional Defiant Disorder 163

Summary 166

Chapter 10 Handling Select Child Behaviors and Special Circumstances 167

Bossiness 167

Bad Words 169

Cheating 172

Very Withdrawn Behaviors 173

Aggression 175

Does Acceptance in CCPT Open Pandora's Box in Daily Life? 180

Therapist Discomfort 181

Chapter 11 Touch in Child-Centered Play Therapy 182

The Role of Touch in CCPT 183

Risks of Touch in CCPT 186

Special Considerations for Traumatized Children 188

Informing Parents and Documenting Touch in CCPT 191

Chapter 12 Cultural and Systemic Considerations in the Practice of Child-Centered Play Therapy 192

Cultural Relevance 193

Misunderstanding of CCPT by Other Professionals 195

Pressures for Quick Results 196

CCPT with Children in Foster or Protective Care 199

Using CCPT in Conjunction with Directive Play Therapy Approaches 202

Using CCPT in School, Hospital, OT Home-Based Settings 204

Adaptability 206

Part V. Research And Professional Issues

Chapter 13 Research on Child-Centered Play Therapy and Filial Therapy 209

Sources of Knowledge about Therapeutic Methods 209

Summary of Empirical Support for CCPT and FT 213

Chapter 14 Developing Competence in Child-Centered Play Therapy 217

Training 217

Supervision 219

Resources Available 221

Credentials 222

Conclusion 223

References 225

Index 231

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)