Therapeutic Play Continuum - Definition Matrix  

So what's the difference between all the different applications of play?  

After considering the different applications of play, Play Therapy UK (PTUK) identified a number of variables that would distinguish one application from another. These are called the defining variables. The matrix is presented in two parts combining the levels of the therapeutic play continuum with the defining variables to arrive at contextual definitions. It helps to explain in some detail the differences between, for example 'play work' and 'therapeutic play'. The matrix has also been used as the basis of contextual definitions of the applications of play.  

Part 1 - Play, Play Work, Therapeutic Play Work and Therapeutic Play  

Part 2 - Filial Play, Play Therapy and Child Psychotherapy  

The matrix compares the different applications of play: Play, Play Work, Therapeutic Play Work, Therapeutic Play, Filial Play, Play Therapy and Child Psychotherapy with the defining variables: Objectives (Level of functioning), Description and Role of Provider/s, Age Range (Emotional), Play Content, Application of Psychological Theories, Type of Intervention, Safety Issues, Clinical Supervision, Quality Management  

Contextual Definition Matrix - Part 1  

Level

Variable


Play
Play Work
Therapeutic Play Work
Therapeutic Play

Objectives        

(Level of functioning) 


Enjoyment

Individual learning

Self development    

Normal


Care & support

Educational      

Normal


Care, support and emotional wellbeing

Organisation centered and behaviour focussed 

Mainly preventative                 

Slight impairment


Emotional well being

Child centered 

Acute mild condition

Deal with one off problems  

Slight impairment


Description & Role of Provider/s

None


Play worker

Teacher Caring, Supporting, teaching


Play worker

Teacher

Mainly observational and prescriptive

Treatment of one off slight/mild conditions 


Play Worker, Teacher, Care Assistant, Nurse

Mainly observational and prescriptive

Treatment of acute slight/mild conditions 


Age Range (Emotional)
Any
3 - 16 years 
3 - 16 years 
3 - 16 years 
Play Content
100%
50 - 90%
50 - 90%
90 - 99%
Psychological Theories
None
None
Basic
Basic
Type of Intervention
None (Self Help)
Learning, comfort & physical support
Support & diagnostic leading to onward referral
Support & diagnostic leading to onward referral
Safety
Physical
Physical
Physical
Physical / Confidentiality
Clinical Supervision
None
None
None
Desirable
Quality Management
None
Level of care, Educational attainment
Level of care, Educational attainment
Simple reporting / feedback

Contextual Definition Matrix - Part 2

Level

Variable


Filial Play
Play Therapy
Child Psycho-Therapy / Clinical Psychology Psychiatry

Objectives        

(Level of functioning)


Emotional well being through improved parenting skills 

Developmental                 

Acute mild conditions

Impairment of infant development


Mental Health & emotional well being

Preventative and curative              

Chronic mild, moderate and severe conditions

Mild to moderate/severe

Impairment


Mental Health

Severe acute and chronic problems

Personality problems  

Co-morbidity

Severe impairment considerable loss of functioning


Description & Role of Provider/s

Impart basic skills to parent/carer/s through demonstration

Apply play and other therapeutic techniques to infant/child


Form a therapeutic relationship - short to medium/long term (months/year)

This will normally be between therapist and child but may also be between a therapeutic team and a child


Form a therapeutic relationship – often long term over year/s

Use of medication and talking therapies with some play


Age Range (Emotional)
0 - 14 years
3 - 14 years
3 - 18 years

Play Content

Balance


50 - 80%

Nurturing

Training parent/carer


80 - 90%

Assessment

Case management 

Outcome measurement


Small amount

Play is used as a lure or adjunct to other therapies


Application of Psychological Theories
Intermediate
Intermediate
Advanced
Intervention
Demonstration, observation, imparting skills, play therapy
Integrative play therapy techniques
Integrative talking therapy techniques and medication
Safety

Physical

Confidentiality


Physical

Emotional & Psychological safety

Confidentiality


Physical

Emotional & Psychological safety

Confidentiality

Public safety


Clinical Supervision
Essential
Essential
Essential
Quality Management
Feedback through simple outcome measure
Complex - multiple outcome measures
Complex - multiple outcome measures
Code of Ethics
Organisational
Professional (PTUK/PTI, BAPT)
Professional (BPS, UKCP)
Degree of Training & (WORD MISSING)
NVQ Level 4
Level 4 (Certificate, Diploma, MA)
Level 4 MA plus specialised post graduate training


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