Play Therapy: A History of Play Therapy Approaches | Plano, TX

Play Therapy has an extensive history, dating back to the early 1900s, with counseling and psychology pioneer, Sigmund Freud.  Freud worked with a little boy named “Hans” vicariously and indirectly, based upon his father’s observations.

Invention of Play Materials for Free Association and Expression

Twenty years later,  Hermine Hug-Hellmuth added the play therapy dimension and necessity of “play materials” for children to free associate and express themselves.

Melanie Klein was one of the first play therapists to focus on children below the age of six.

In the late 1930s, David levy engaged in “release” or “immersion” therapy by “flooding” or adding specific toys to the play room that related to the child’s presenting issue.

With the popularity of Person Centered Therapy, Carl Rogers, protégé, Virginia Axline authored “Dibs,” her recollection of her counseling experience with a little boy named Dibs based upon person centered principles of empathy, unconditional positive regard and etc.

Throughout the 1900s, there was an emergence of many counseling theoretical orientations, such as Adlerian, Jungian, Gestalt, Behavioral, Cognitive, REBT, Reality and etc.  Most of these orientations also had a play therapy component such as Adlerian and Jungian play therapies.

Child Centered Play Therapy | Addison, TX

However, the most popular play therapy counseling modality (1960s) is that of Garry Landreth’s Child Centered Play Therapy.  Landreth’s child centered play therapy is non-directive and reflective with boundary-setting.  Child Centered Play Therapists follow the lead of the child and provide a safe and non-judgmental place for children to express themselves with creative and purposeful toys that can validate a child’s experiences.

Schedule an appointment with one of our specialist at LifeTree Counseling at (972) 234-6634

Kathleen Mills

Kathleen is a creative and gifted therapist who has extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of issues.