Challenges in the Theory and Practice of Play Therapy  book cover
1st Edition

Challenges in the Theory and Practice of Play Therapy

ISBN 9780415736459
Published January 8, 2016 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Challenges in the Theory and Practice of Play Therapy provides an advanced and in-depth exploration of the issues and challenges relating to the training, theory and practice of Child-Centred Play Therapy. The ethos of the book is process orientated, and it discusses the particular therapeutic challenges that are encountered on a day-to- day basis.

Drawing upon clinical material and cutting-edge theory, David Le Vay and Elise Cuschieri bring together experienced practitioners from the field to explore key topics such as:

  • The therapeutic use of self within play therapy
  • Gender issues in play therapy
  • The play therapist’s experience of self-doubt
  • Working with acquired brain injury
  • Working with developmental trauma
  • The role of research within play therapy
  • The role of experiential training groups in a play therapy training programme      

Original and stimulating, Challenges in the Theory and Practice of Play Therapy will be of interest and value to all those working within the area of child mental health, both in practice and in training, and particularly those in the wider Arts and Play Therapy community who are working therapeutically with troubled children.


Table of Contents

Landreth, Foreword. Le Vay, Cuschieri, Preface. Le Vay, To Be or Not to Be? The Therapeutic Use of Self within Child-Centred Play Therapy. Cuschieri, Can I Really Do This? An Exploration into Therapist Self-Doubt. Le Vay, Reflections on Gender: The Male Play Therapists. Thomas, Bridging the Cultural Divide: Meeting Cultural Challenges with Enhanced Awareness, Knowledge and Skills. Prichard, Stuck in the Dollhouse: A Brain-Based Perspective of Post Traumatic Play. Vance, Who am I Now? How Play Therapy Can Empower Children and Adolescents in their ‘Search for Self’ Following Severe Acquired Brain Injury. Reed, Tackling Taboos: Research in Play Therapy. Le Vay, Cuschieri, The Role of the Process Group Within a Play Therapy Training Programme: A Conversation.


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David Le Vay is a qualified and accredited play therapist, dramatherapist and social worker. Since qualifying as a therapist in 1992, he has worked with children who have experienced significant loss, trauma and abuse, as well as with their families and carers. David has particular experience over the last 15 years of working with a service that provides therapeutic support for children and young people with sexually harmful and problematic behaviour. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Roehampton on their MA Play Therapy programme and an approved BAPT play therapy supervisor.

Elise Cuschieri is a qualified teacher and BAPT registered play therapist. For the past 10 years, she has worked as a play therapist in a specialist bereavement service with children and their families, pre- and post-bereavement. Elise is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Roehampton where she teaches on the MA Play Therapy programme. As well as lecturing, Elise supervises play therapist trainees.


"This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book. Its aim of exploring important, but under-reported, play therapy challenges has been achieved. This book is a valuable resource for both inexperienced and experienced therapists, and for readers both in the UK and internationally." - Dr Virginia Ryan, Child Psychologist/Play Therapist/Filial Therapist Director, Ryan’s Children’s Services Ltd. and former Director, MA/Dip in Non-directive Play Therapy, University of York, UK

"One of the characteristics that makes this book distinctive is how refreshingly and deliberately personal it is: in the spirit of a humanistic approach where the therapist is real and genuine, not hiding behind the mask of professional expertise, the key chapters are written from deeply-felt personal experience with a powerful heuristic emphasis. In their Preface, Le Vay and Cuschieri declare 'it is a book about being - not doing' and indeed that use of self is a theme that shines through almost every page... If you read this new, inspiring, uniquely personal contribution to the Play Therapy literature, the challenge for you will be putting it down." - Lisa Gordon Clark, Programme Convener for the Play Therapy MA at the University of Roehampton, British Association of Play Therapy

"This book offers a refreshingly honest, person-centred approach to some of the key issues that child-centred play therapists face. Looking at the process rather than outcome, the authors explore some of the challenges they have faced, and reflect on working therapeutically with troubled children... I value the uniqueness of this book, the openness with which the authors write, and the triggers for self-reflection it evokes. A must read for all trainees and newly qualified therapists, but also a book that can be enjoyed by experienced therapists too." - Laura Hanks, Play Therapist and Placement Consultant, The Association for Child and Adoelscent Mental Health