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An investigation into the impact a therapist’s experience of personal therapy may have upon the quality of the therapist/client relationship in Play Therapy.

By January 1, 2016No Comments

A therapeutic relationship is established between a therapist and client in an accepting and non judgmental
environment (Axline, 1974). Many studies have shown that the therapeutic
relationship to be an important predictor of client transformation and therapy outcomes
(Lambert and Barley, 2001; Lambert and Simon, 2008; Paul and Charura, 2014).
The aim of the study is to explore how a therapists’ experience of personal therapy impacts on
the quality of the therapist-client relationship and how a therapeutic relationship could
influence the outcomes of the play therapy sessions.
The mixed-method approach employed in the study helped attain a valid understanding of the
two research questions. Therefore, the study presented literature and data findings around the
significance of therapeutic relationship, use of personal therapy, and the impact of therapeutic
relationship on play therapy sessions.
A cohort of six adults (n=6), all qualified play therapists, took part in the study. Four out of the
six participants reported personal therapy as being beneficial for their professional work as play
All participants agreed that personal therapy is significant and offers benefits while impacting
therapeutic relationship, yet four of the six participants concluded that personal therapy should
not be a mandatory requirement for trainees or qualified therapists.
Nevertheless, the overall results indicated that the experience of personal therapy has a definite
positive impact for therapists through heightening self-care, self-awareness, attunement, and
presence and contributes towards the quality of the therapeutic relationships, which are central
components of therapy outcomes.