Child Centered Play Therapy is a systematic and evidence-based approach to counselling children. This form of Play Therapy has been in use for over 60 years and has a long history of efficacy in therapeutic work with children. It is well supported by extensive research.
Meta-analytic reviews (a powerful analysis that combines the results of many studies) of over 100 play therapy outcome studies (Bratton, Ray, Rhine & Jones, 2005; Leblanc & Ritchie, 2001) found that the overall treatment effect of play therapy ranges from moderate to high positive effects. The review by Bratton and colleagues was conducted on 93 research studies, finding a large treatment effect size of .8 and indicating that play therapy was effective across a variety of presenting issues. Non-directive approaches were found to yield better outcomes than therapist-directed play approaches. Additionally, positive treatment effects were found to be greatest when there was a parent actively involved in the child’s treatment.
The Center 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.
For evidence based research on the effectiveness of Child Centered Play Therapy, the following book is available: Child Centered Play Therapy Research: The Evidence Base for Effective Practice. Jennifer N.Baggerly (Author, Editor), Dee C. Ray (Author, Editor), Sue C. Bratton (Author, Editor).