Description: Child-centered play therapy (CCPT) is an empirically supported and developmentally appropriate counseling intervention for young children. Despite the clinical effectiveness of CCPT with children, no known study has been conducted in which parents were surveyed or interviewed regarding the services they have received as a part of their children’s participation in CCPT. Therefore, this study was designed to gain a better understanding of parents’ reported needs and expectations in CCPT. This study utilized Q-methodology in which participants completed a Q-sort by actively sorting 40 items on a continuum of least important to most important. Items included services and processes regarded by CCPT scholars and child therapy practitioners as being important to working with parents. Data was collected from 19 parents of children receiving CCPT services in a community-based counseling clinic. Participants included 16 females and 3 males; 15 Caucasian and 4 Hispanic; and 14 biological parents, 2 adoptive parents, and 3 other biological caregivers. Data was analyzed using centroid factor analysis, and results revealed a one factor solution representing 18 of the 19 participants. Eighteen parents reported similar beliefs regarding the processes they consider most and least important to their experience in working with child-centered play therapists. In general, parents’ beliefs aligned with CCPT philosophy, particularly in regards to respecting children’s natural pace of development and healing. Furthermore, parents shared preferences for play therapists who demonstrate expert knowledge and training and who understand the individual needs of their children. Discussion includes implications for the practice of CCPT and training of future play therapists, limitations of the study, and implications for future research.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lee, Kasie R.