Standards for Play Therapy, Therapeutic Play and Filial Play
PTUK has, in the past six years led the way in setting
standards to ensure high quality of care when play therapy, therapeutic play
skills and creative arts therapies are used with children to improve emotional
literacy and alleviate behaviour and mental health problems.
There has been a major revision in 2006 with additions to
the Competency Framework, the inclusion of Filial Play and the application of a
four stage model of evaluation based on Kirkpatrick principles. (Play for Life
journal Autumn/Winter 2006 edition).
The context of play therapy standards is shown in PTUK’s
Play Therapy Practice Systemic View diagram. This is the basis of PTUK and
PTI's approach to standards providing an overall architecture. It guards
against a piecemeal approach being taken.
Safe and effective practice requires high standards of
training based on competencies from which learning objectives are derived. The
learning objectives are attained through a life-long learning process. The
effectiveness of the learning process is evaluated at four levels: reaction,
learning, behaviour and results.
Safe and effective practice also requires an appropriate
environment for practice and the practitioner needs to have suitable personal
Safe and effective practice must be based on the needs of
the children, the parent/carers and the commissioning organisation or agency.
It is constrained by statutory requirements and legal and ethical
The practitioner is supported and monitored by clinical
supervision, a professional infrastructure (provided by PTI) and clinical
governance. Clinical governance provides practice based evidence to the
evidence base which is also fed by original research. The evidence base
contributes to the development and refinement of competencies.
The three main areas of standards are:
||To protect the children,
their carers and the practitioners.
|Profession Structure Model
||To provide a coherent
structure for the development of the profession including education and
training standards based on a competency framework.
||To manage the quality of
therapeutic work and continuing professional development. The Play Therapy Dimensions Model
, introduced in 2005 is a recommended therapy decision taking method.
These standards, which are continually reviewed, are based
upon the needs of clients - the children, those who are responsible for them -
parents and carers, referrers - teachers, nurses, social workers, doctors etc
and those that commission therapeutic services. The standards are produced
through a collaborative process involving consultation with members of the
profession in both the UK and internationally. All standards are kept
under constant review by PTUK's Executive and Advisory Boards.
For brief introductions see:
All clients are entitled to good standards of practice and
care from their practitioners in play therapy, creative arts therapies, filial
play, child psychotherapy and counselling. Good standards of practice and
care require professional competence (see the Profession Structure Model); good
relationships with clients and colleagues; clinical supervision; commitment to
and observance of professional ethics and the use of clinical governance
All PTUK Practitioner Members are required to work within
the PTUK Ethical System.
The second version of this model was released in June
2003. It contains a competency framework which can be used to:
- Increase the understanding of the work of therapists in
detail - what do they do precisely?
- Does this meet the organisation's or
- Form the basis of identifying training needs - what skills
do therapists need to acquire?
- Provide a basis to produce job descriptions - what should a
therapist be expected to do?
Enable performance appraisals to be based on observable
PTUK Practitioner Members are advised to use, the Model for career development
Employers are recommended to apply the principles to all
therapeutic work with children.
Governance is a health profession term for quality management.
Clinical governance is based upon collecting quantifiable
measurements (normally pre and post therapy outcomes), carefully analysing the
data to detect both good and poor results and using the conclusions to improve
Clinical governance is sometimes referred to as practice
based evidence, which is equally, if not more important, than evidence based
All PTUK Practitioner Members are strongly advised to use an
approved method of clinical governance. It is mandatory for PTUK