Intensive Short-term Child Centered Play Therapy and Externalizing Behaviors in Children

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Play therapists use children’s natural symbolic play as a method of mental health treatment (Landreth, 2012). Meta-analysis research has demonstrated the effectiveness of treating children with play therapy (Bratton, Ray, Rhine, & Jones, 2005), and child-centered play therapy (CCPT) has proven to be an effective treatment for children with externalizing behaviors such as aggression and other disruptive behavior (Bratton & Ray, 2000; Bratton et al., 2005). Some studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of brief and short-term CCPT, such as twice weekly within two to three months (Blanco & Ray, 2011; Shen, 2002) and when delivered in an intensive format, conducting ... continued below

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viii, 126 pages : color illustrations

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Ritzi, Rochelle M. August 2015.

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  • Ritzi, Rochelle M.

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Play therapists use children’s natural symbolic play as a method of mental health treatment (Landreth, 2012). Meta-analysis research has demonstrated the effectiveness of treating children with play therapy (Bratton, Ray, Rhine, & Jones, 2005), and child-centered play therapy (CCPT) has proven to be an effective treatment for children with externalizing behaviors such as aggression and other disruptive behavior (Bratton & Ray, 2000; Bratton et al., 2005). Some studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of brief and short-term CCPT, such as twice weekly within two to three months (Blanco & Ray, 2011; Shen, 2002) and when delivered in an intensive format, conducting 12 sessions within three weeks (Jones & Landreth, 2002). In this current study, I sought to determine the effectiveness of intensive CCPT with children identified as having externalizing problem behaviors. Participants were recruited from public schools in the urban area of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia area. A total of 24 participants completed the study: 18 boys and 6 girls aged 6 to 9 years old (M = 7); 17 Australian Caucasians, 1 English (UK) Caucasian, 1 Asian, 3 Hispanic/Latino, and 2 Biracial. Participants were randomly assigned: 12 to the experimental group and 12 to the wait-list control group. Children in the experimental group received 20 intensive CCPT sessions: twice daily for 10 days. For each child participant, a parent completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and a teacher completed the CBCL Teacher’s Report Form (TRF) three times: at pretest, posttest, and one-week follow-up. Mixed between-within ANOVAs were conducted applying an alpha level of .05 to interpret statistical significant and η2 calculation to assess practical significance. Follow-up results indicated a statistically significant interaction effect on CBCL Externalizing score, F (2, 44) = 14.747, p < .001, with a large effect size of η2 = .277. Results also indicated a statistically significant interaction effect on the TRF Externalizing score, F (2, 44) = 4.042, p = .024, with a large effect size of η2 = .135. Therefore, both parents and teachers indicated that children with externalizing behaviors who received intensive CCPT showed a significant decrease in those behaviors. The results of this study indicate that when time and financial resources call for short-term, intensive CCPT for children with problematic externalizing behaviors, practitioners may use it with confidence that its effectiveness has been demonstrated through this research.

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viii, 126 pages : color illustrations

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 2015

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  • March 4, 2016, 4:14 p.m.

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  • May 15, 2017, 11:37 a.m.

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Ritzi, Rochelle M. Intensive Short-term Child Centered Play Therapy and Externalizing Behaviors in Children, dissertation, August 2015; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804984/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .