What is Nondirective Play in therapy?

What is Nondirective Play in therapy?

Especially at a young age, children are not always able to properly vocalise the complexity of their feelings or the thoughts they have. When the child is unable to do so, therapy can sometimes grind to a standstill and end in frustration for the child, making recovery from traumatic events even harder.

Nondirective play therapy is a counselling method employed to help children more effectively communicate to the therapist how they feel and what’s on their mind. Instead of vocalising their thoughts and feelings, the therapist will allow the child to play with an array of toys and activities and interprets the child’s communications through their play activities.

This allows the child to play out what is on their mind in the way they understand best and in a non-confrontational manner.

The therapist must create the right environment of safety and trust to gain insight into the mind of the child in order to eventually interpret what the child is communicating. For example, a child may not be able to vocalise a traumatic event or emotion to the therapist (or even parents), but they may feel less threatened and safer doing so through toys or other play activities.

Nondirective Play is a method to gain deeper insight into the child’s world in order to understand them better and help them through any traumatic event they may have gone through. It is also a great way for a child to learn more about themselves in the process.

College of Allied Educators offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills and leads to the Postgraduate Diploma in Play Therapy. Awarded by the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy, UK, (APAC), these programmes will allow students to further explore ways of integrating the child as the centre of a social system, which includes schools, families and a team of support. They will also introduce you to developmental practices, types of play therapy, legal frameworks, assessment, protection procedures and therapeutic interventions.


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