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An evaluation of the effect of short term play therapy in the treatment of childhood anxiety in a Tier 3 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) setting. April 2014

By January 1, 2014No Comments

This study evaluates the effect of a short term play therapy intervention for children presenting with anxiety to a Tier 3 CAMH Service. The study uses a twelve session treatment plan developed by the researcher, which incorporates non-directive, directive and parent-child work. The study also aims to investigate whether the combination of these three approaches has any effect on treatment.

Three research methods are used; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQs), semi-structured interviews with parents and thematic analysis of clinical notes from each therapy session.

Participants (two boys and three girls) were white British, between the ages of seven and eleven. In most cases the participants’ mothers joined the therapy sessions for the parent-child work.

At the end of treatment, the findings show a clear improvement in symptoms of anxiety and the combination of non-directive, directive and parent-child work was considered to enhance the effect of the short term approach. Alongside a reduction in anxiety, participants became more self-aware and self-confident, improved their relationships with others and developed positive coping strategies for the future.