The Therapeutic Play Continuum

Play is now widely recognised as being beneficial in the emotional development of children. It has a therapeutic value. With the growth of play therapy, play work, filial play and the use of therapeutic play skills there is widespread confusion about the roles of each and the skills required to be a proficient practitioner. (see also background) 

The Therapeutic Play Continuum was developed by Monika Jephcott and Jeff Thomas, whilst working for PTUK as a concept to explain the different applications of play in helping children with their problems. Definitions of each of the main terms are given and related graphically to each other in the Therapeutic Play Continuum diagram. 

The Applications of Play

The main therapeutic applications of play are:

  • Play
  • Play Work
  • Therapeutic Play
  • Play Therapy
  • Filial Play – sometimes called 'Filial Play Therapy'
  • Child Psychotherapy and Clinical Psychology (CPCP) 

Therapeutic Play Continuum

Since there are overlaps between each application they may best be considered on a therapeutic continuum to deal with differing levels of severity of emotional, behavioural and mental health problems in children. 

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