Foundations of Play Therapy

Foundations of Play Therapy

Foundations of Play Therapy

Foundations of Play Therapy


The landmark guide to play therapy-completely updated and revised

Edited by Charles E. Schaefer-the "father of play therapy"- Foundations of Play Therapy, Second Edition is a complete, state-of-the-art guide to the many diverse approaches to, and methods used in, play therapy practice with children and adolescents.

Featuring an expert panel of contributors, this comprehensive reference provides up-to-date and insightful coverage of all of the major theoretical models of play therapy and offers practical examples for the application of each model, including:

  • Narrative play therapy

  • Solution-focused play therapy

  • Experiential play therapy

  • Release play therapy

  • Integrative play therapy

  • Psychoanalytic approaches to play therapy

  • Child-centered play therapy

  • Gestalt play therapy

  • Family play therapy

  • Cognitive behavioral play therapy

  • Prescriptive play therapy

Written for therapists looking for guidance on how to incorporate play therapy into their practice, as well as students or those in need of a refresher on the latest methods and techniques, Foundations of Play Therapy, Second Edition is a standard-setting resource presenting pragmatic and useful information for therapists at all levels of training.


Play therapy has been the leading psychotherapeutic intervention with children since the beginning of the 20th century. The goal of Foundations of Play Therapy, 2nd Edition is to provide the reader with a comprehensive introduction to the field of play therapy.

The first part of the book, Fundamentals of Play Therapy Practice, is completely new. The chapters are designed to supply the basic information needed to understand and practice play therapy. Chapter 1 encompasses a number of the essential concepts and practices that all beginning play therapists need to master. Chapter 2 contains an overview of the therapeutic powers of play, that is, the change mechanisms that are the heart and soul of play therapy. The third chapter informs the reader about the clinical, professional, and ethical issues that are likely to arise in the practice of play therapy.

One of the strengths of Play Therapy is the diversity of theoretical approaches that are currently being applied in clinical practice with children and adolescents. These models offer a broad and firm foundation for the application of therapeutic play to the wide range of psychological problems experienced by youth.

Part II of the book contains a detailed description of the major theories of play therapy, including Psychodynamic Models, Humanistic Models, Systemic Models, as well as a number of Emerging Models. Each of the 18 chapters is written by a leading authority on the particular theoretical model. All of the chapters from the first edition have been revised and updated so as to present a state-of-the-art overview. In addition, four new theoretical chapters have been added to reflect the broad range of current models, namely, Narrative Play Therapy, Solution-Focused Play Therapy, Experiential Play Therapy, and Integrative Play Therapy.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, child life specialists, nurses, occupational therapists, and family therapists at all levels of training and experience will find Foundations of Play Therapy, 2nd Edition informative and clinically useful. Like the first edition, this book is likely to become an essential text for introductory courses and workshops on play therapy across the globe.

—Charles E. Schaefer . . .

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