I was recently asked for my input on the ten most important things a play therapist should know. Here’s my list. I hope you’ll add to it or present a list of your own in the comments section.
1) Know and understand at least one theory of Play Therapy really well.
2) Read Winnicott, Harry Stack Sullivan, and some of Richard Gardner’s early work.
3) Learn the classics: Mutual Storytelling Game and The Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game, and then add to your repertoire of interventions.
4) Know when play therapy is not what a child needs.
5) Be a child clinician first, and someone who uses play therapy to help children second.
6) DSM-IV-TR and play therapy are compatible.
7) Everyone who does play therapy needs to know a good child psychiatrist.
8) Don’t “act” like a play therapist. Get comfortable with yourself, and bring that person to play therapy.
9) It’s not original but it bears repeating: Play Therapy needs to be more therapy than play.
10) Sometimes Play Therapy is magic! We just don’t know why it works sometimes.