The Effects of a Play Therapy Intervention Conducted by Trained High School Students on the Behavior of Maladjusted Young Children: Implications for School Counselors
Description: This research study investigated the effectiveness of a child-centered play therapy intervention conducted by trained high school students on the behavior of preschool and kindergarten children with adjustment difficulties. Specifically, this research determined if play sessions conducted by high school students trained in child-centered play therapy skills and procedures facilitated change in the children's behaviors. The experimental group children (N=14) each received 20 weekly individual play sessions from a high school student enrolled in a Peer Assistance and Leadership class. The high school students were randomly paired with a referred child. The high school students completed 7 one-hour training sessions in child-centered play therapy procedures and skills prior to beginning the weekly, supervised play sessions. The control group (N=12) received no treatment during the study. Pre and post data were collected from parents who completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and teachers who completed the Early Childhood Behavior Scale (ECBS). Multivariate analyses of variance of gained scored revealed statistical significance in 2 of the 4 hypotheses. Specifically, the children in the experimental group showed significant decreases in internalizing behaviors (p = .025) and total behaviors (p = .025) on the CBCL. Although not in the statistically significant range, positive trends were noted in externalizing behaviors on the CBCL (p = .07) and total behaviors on the ECBS (p = .056). All play sessions were conducted in the primary school that the children attended. The high school student facilitated play sessions helped to maximize the school counselor's time by meeting the needs of more students. Implications for school counselors are noted with suggestions for how to begin and maintain a similar program in schools. This study supports the use of child-centered play therapy by trained high school students as an effective intervention for helping young children with a variety of adjustment ...
Date: December 2000
Creator: Rhine, Tammy J.