Play therapy, as a standard psychotherapy mainly for children, has been used in educational, medical and welfare areas and facilities such as educational advice centers, hospitals and clinics, private psychotherapy centers and other child welfare facilities have been practicing it with their own characteristic ways.
However, it certainly was a misfortune that play therapy was positioned as the entry level training for novice psychotherapists, with the less than enlightened perception that play therapy was just playing with a client. The fact that there had been no serious publications regarding play therapy in Japan till twentieth century is the proof of this notion.
In fact, the reality of play therapy is totally different from that kind of perception, where a therapist goes into the client’s world through play, seeing into awesome depths of the client’s mind, then walks together with the client. This requires extremely complex techniques based on professional knowledge, long accumulated training as well as the helpers’ own personal insight and ingenuity. Play therapy is not the entry level of clinical psychotherapy but the very base of psychotherapy.
Further, play therapy so far has been regarded as a non-verbal method mainly using toys as a medium. However it is proving itself a highly verbal approach that invites clients into verbal communication without force.
The association, established at the beginning of the twenty-first century, uses words to discuss, study, and train together, to lead the helpers to a more sophisticated world of words.
For more information about The Japan Association of Play Therapy, see Japanese pages.