Integrated Play Therapy

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What is a Play Therapist?

what is a play therapist

In Australia, play therapists undertake a Master’s Degree to obtain registration as a Play Therapist. Many Play therapists have previously worked with children in other professions including allied health, social work, psychology, or teaching.


Play therapists have been trained to use play to understand and communicate with children about their feelings, emotions, and behavior either verbally or symbolically. The success and the outcomes of play therapy rests largely on the strength of the relationship between the therapist and the child. It is important that the child feels comfortable, safe, and understood by the Play therapist to be able to fully express themselves (feelings, experiences, and behavior) through play. 

Therefore, as part of the therapeutic process, the role of the play therapist is to:

  • Establish a warm and caring relationship with the child as soon as possible
  • Accept the child for who they are
  • Create a feeling of safety and permissiveness in the relationship so that the child feels that they can explore and fully express themselves.
  • Attune to the child’s feelings and reflect these back to the child so as they gain insight into their behaviors
  • Shows respect for the child’s ability to solve their own problems and reach their own conclusions
  • Follow the child’s lead and not direct the child’s play or conversation
  • Only set limits that assist to ground the child to reality or help the child be aware of the responsibilities in the relationship