Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Play therapy, Client-centered psychotherapy, Nondirective, Directive play therapy, Play


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how play therapists determine when to use a directive versus nondirective treatment approach with children. Eleven therapists who engage in play therapy with children participated in individual interviews designed to collect their perspectives about their preferred play therapy treatment approach. Participants were selected through a non-random convenience snowball sampling technique from across New England. The findings of this study reflect for this sample, there does not appear to be a uniform method of determining when a directive versus nondirective play therapy treatment approach is utilized. Participants tend to determine treatment method based on their personalities and educational backgrounds, suggesting that the needs of the client may be less important than the comfort level of the therapist when determining treatment approach. These findings suggest that a more thorough educational structure is needed for effective clinical social work practice with children and families.




iii, 61 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 49-52)