PLAY THERAPY & EXPRESSIVE ARTS
Play Therapy is “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained Play Therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development" (a4pt.org).
Expressive Arts Therapy is “the purposeful use of movement, music, image making, performance, writing, and play and imagination in healthcare, psychotherapy, and wellness” (Malchiodi, 2020).
Below is a selection of models and main topics that are taught at the Academy. Customized trainings and programs can be requested through the contact form. The information on this page is taken from the book Introduzione alla Play Therapy. Quando il gioco è la terapia (Mochi and Cassina, 2021).
Child-Centered Play Therapy
Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) is one of the longest-running, most effective and most frequently used forms of play therapy. With strong scientific evidence and broad applicability, this non-directive play therapy model it is for children one of the most developmentally appropriate therapeutic interventions with respect to a wide range of issues including anxiety, AD/HD, chronic illness, social difficulties, behavioral and attachment problems, depression, loss, and trauma.
The Academy organizes the 1st and 2nd levels of CCPT training in Switzerland and abroad.
Filial Therapy is a form of family therapy that emphasizes the parent-child relationship as an essential therapeutic factor. In Filial Therapy, parents independently play a therapeutic role on behalf of their children within a process in which they receive specific training and constant supervision from a Filial Therapist (Guerney, 2003).
In Filial Therapy, parents and caregivers are the primary agents of change for their children; they initially learn the therapeutic skills characteristic of the CCPT model and, with the guidance of a professional trained in Filial Therapy, learn to conduct non-directive play therapy sessions with their children.
The training is presented by Claudio Mochi, Certified Instructor in Filial Therapy and recipient of the 2015 Award "Outstanding contributions to the practice and teaching of filial therapy" from the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center, Inc.
Learn to Play Therapy
Learn to Play Therapy was developed by Dr. Karen Stagnitti to assist children with neurodevelopmental issues such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and other difficulties that impair the ability to spontaneously initiate play and mature pretend play skills.
The theoretical foundation of the model is drawn in particular from Axline's non-directive play therapy formulation and the Cognitive Developmental Theory of Play according to which play is conceived as a voluntary activity that enables the expansion of a variety of skills.
From the perspective of cognitive processes, particular attention is paid to pretend play whose development enables the child to impose meaning on the situation, to use symbols and to act "as if" the current circumstance were different from its literal meaning.
The Academy collaborates directly with Dr. Karen Stagnitti to deliver trainings in Learn to Play Therapy.
Expressive Arts Activities and Therapy
The Academy promotes the use of expressive arts at various levels:
within each training to foster understanding and processing of content, and to promote the expression and well-being of participants;
in the medium- and long-term study programs, to enhance professional development and nourish personal growth;
within the individual and group supervision processes (creative supervision); and
the Academy organizes specific modules for learning play and expressive arts activities/techniques and Expressive Arts Therapy for working with children, adolescents, and families.
Narrative Play Therapy
Narrative Play Therapy is defined as "an area of play therapy that harnesses the developmental potential of play and narrative to support the child in understanding the events that have occurred in his or her life and how they have affected it" (Taylor de Faoite, 2011).
Through the combination of play and narrative, the child has opportunities to explore new possibilities, express implicit content, expand self-knowledge, and at the same time learn and extend his or her competence in the emotional and cognitive domains.
Recommended reading: The Magic Home written and illustrated by Isabella Cassina (2020) and reviewed by some of the world's most renowned play therapists.
Sandtray Therapy is "an expressive and projective psychotherapy involving the deployment and processing of interpersonal and intrapersonal material through the use of specific sandtray material as a nonverbal means of communication managed by the client and facilitated by a trained professional" (Homeyer and Sweeney, 2011).
Trainings in Sandtray Therapy organized by the Academy are presented by professionals internationally renowned for the teaching of this methodology.
Play Therapy Models Based on Attachment Theory
Attachment is the process in which the child's central nervous system organizes itself physically, emotionally and cognitively based on specific interactions with the caregiver (Whelan & Stewart, 2014). Positive interactions that produce secure attachment simultaneously promote healthy brain development and lay the foundation for long-term mental health (Booth & Winstead, 2016).
These are some of the reasons for directly involving parents in the play therapy process by inviting them into the playroom and engaging them in directive and/or nondirective approaches chosen to best meet the child's therapeutic needs.
The Academy organizes trainings for the study and practice of play therapy activities and models based on Attachment Theory.
Group Play Therapy
Group Play Therapy is "the dynamic interpersonal relationship between two or more children and a trained therapist who provides selected play materials and facilitates the development of a safe relationship in which children can fully express and explore themselves and others through their natural means of communication that is play" (Landreth, 2002).
Neurobiology of Play and Play Therapy Processes
All of the Academy's training modules integrate aspects of neuroscience. Participants are guided in learning the concepts of Motivational Circuit, Functional Brain Division and Sequential Development, Polyvagal Theory, Brain Neuroplasticity, Implicit and Explicit Memory, and Neural Integration.
The Academy also organizes modules devoted exclusively to the study of the neurobiology of play and play therapy processes. Based on the latest neuroscientific evidence, the module provides guidance to support the planning of a clinical or psychoeducational intervention in a developmentally sensitive and neurobiologically relevant manner.