Child Centered Play Therapy

(evidence-based approach)

CCPT RESEARCH: ‘Play Therapy is the most developmentally appropriate way to approach children in a counselling relationship, and it is in this safe, nurturing environment that children play out what they have experienced, their reactions and feelings about those experiences, what they need in their lives, and how they feel about themselves. Thus, play therapy is a complete therapeutic modality. I have long thought that play therapy is the most effective way we can help to make the world a safer place for children because in play therapy there will be no harm. Play therapy is a place that is absolutely safe, a place where the child is accepted as the person he is. In this kind of relationship, the creative  -and growth-promoting potential of children emerges. We know that experientially this process occurs and have an accumulation of research-based studies that verify the fact’. Garry Landreth, 2010, ‘Child-Centered Play Therapy Research’. Eds. J.N. Baggerly, D.C.Ray, S.C.Bratton. (Evidence-based research on the effectiveness of Child-Centered Play Therapy).


A meta-analysis of the results of over 100 play therapy outcome studies found that the overall treatment effect of play therapy ranges from moderate to highly positive effects (Bratton, Ray, Rhine & Jones, 2005; Leblanc &Ritchie, 2001). A review of 93 research studies (Bratton et al) found that non-directive play therapy approaches were found to be more effective than therapist-directed play therapy approaches. Outcomes were positive across a number of presenting issues with even greater effect when a parent was actively involved in the child’s treatment.

FURTHER READING:  ‘Play Therapy for children with challenges is not all play’. By Bobbi Cruice, BLOG

OTHER RESEARCH: The Centre for Play Therapy has created a database of play therapy research as well as other play-focused modalities for children. Please visit their website for this resource: