Play therapy: Limitations.

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Are there limitations or weaknesses to play therapy?  Well like anything, there are always negatives.  For more information, follow the link below.

Therapist’s Descriptions of Play Therapy Effectiveness

  • Like any therapy, it can be misused/misinterpreted by clinicians who do not use it effectively, causing the child to shut down their naturally evolving process thus taking the direction away from the child (seen as  a weakness of the therapist not the therapy).
  • Integrating play while doing standard “talk therapies” is not really play therapy. This results in minimal benifits and parents see that their child is only playing (which they are). Therefore, play therapy is deemed ineffective and gives true play therapists a bad name.
  • Can be confusing for parents to understand its purpose, why its used, how conclusions are derived from it-but they are always happy with the results.
  • Parents misinterpret method, “paying to play with my child.”
  • It doesn’t work for every child or every problem.
  • The age of the child makes a difference. It is possible to do play therapy with adolescents but you have to be creative and it is not applicable to older (pre-teen) and teen clients.
  • Some children don’t respond (at least to the level of their parent’s expectations) and dissatisfied parents don’t bring their children back.
  • Sometimes difficult to interpret their play.
  • Collaborative information is often needed to substantiate concerns/interpretations such as in issues of neglect/abuse.
  • More research needed and more understanding in the field.
  • Will not always have access to materials and space in some clinical settings.
  • Therapists need to be highly trained and have ongoing supervision for play therapy.



Pietrini K. (2015). Therapist’s Descriptions of Play Therapy Effectiveness. Retrieved from,%20Katie.pdf

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