Play Therapy is the strategic use of play within therapeutic contexts to promote the expression and processing of the child’s thoughts, needs and feelings.
Although play has always been recognized as a means of communication, cues to understanding children and developing therapeutic relationships, Play Therapy is a paradigm that has evolved within
different theoretical frameworks that present similarities and differences in their approach that is distinguished as Directive Play Therapy and Non-directive Play Therapy. CBPT is included among the directive approaches.
Knell (2009) describes the most salient similarities and differences between these two approaches by grouping them into: direction and goals of therapy, play materials and activities, play as education, play interpretations and connections and praise.
DIRECTION AND GOALS
In non-directive play therapy the direction it is not accepted because the children must be accepted as they are, without any type of external imposition. In CBPT, however, therapeutic goals are established and the direction towards these goals is the basis of intervention.
PLAY MATERIALS AND ACTIVITIES
In non-directive play therapy, play materials, activities and direction of play are always chosen by the child, unlike the CBPT approach where they are selected by the child and the therapist.
PLAY AS EDUCATIONAL
In non-directive play therapy, education is not appropriate because it is considered a form of direction. In CBPT play is used to teach alternative and more adaptive skills and behaviors.
INTERPRETATIONS AND CONNECTIONS
In non-directive play therapy the therapist does not interpret the child’s play but communicates their unconditional acceptance. The CBPT therapist introduces the interpretation of the child’s play, bringing conflicts and significant issues into verbal expression for the child.
In non-directive play therapy praise is not considered appropriate because it communicates to the child that the therapist does not accept them as they are, but that the therapist would like them to be in a different way. In CBPT, praise is a crucial component of therapy. Praise communicates to the child which behaviors are appropriate and reinforces these behaviors to the child.