Integrating play and family therapy methods: A survey of play therapists' attitudes in the field

Darryl R. Haslam, Steven M. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The researchers surveyed 295 members of the Association for Play Therapy on their attitudes related to working with families when treating children. The results indicated the majority of play therapists held attitudes conducive to involving families in their approaches with children. However, mixed findings were found in specific areas related to the implementation of play therapy with families, suggesting barriers may exist. These mixed findings included a decreased percentage of play therapists that felt like play therapy was effective in family therapy when compared with the high level who felt that play and family therapy approaches could be integrated. Moreover, the respondents were divided on issues such as parents' willingness to be involved in therapy with their children and if parents were actually resistant to being included in sessions with their children. These mixed findings suggest that a wide range of attitudes and experiences about parental involvement exist among play therapists in the field. The authors raise key questions for the play therapy field to consider in more depth and suggest improvements that may be needed in play therapy education to increase the efficacy of play therapists' skills in working with families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Play Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011


  • family play therapy
  • integrating child and family therapy methods
  • play therapist practice attitudes
  • play therapy with families

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