Original Articles

Can Professionals Offering Support to Vulnerable Children in Kenya Benefit from Brief Play Therapy Training?

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 16, issue 2, 2006 , pages: 215–221
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2006.10820125
Author(s): Kathryn Frances HuntDurham University, United Kingdom

Abstract

This paper evaluates the perceived benefit to a group of thirty caring professionals of a brief training in Child-centred play therapy. Play therapy enables a child to create fictional worlds and in this way make sense of the real world. By playing in the presence of the therapist, who provides a trusting relationship and at times shares the play, the child is able to obtain relief from the negative effects of distress, sadness, anger or shame. All course participants had adult counsellor qualifications and worked with vulnerable children (n= 25, age range = 56, mean years of experience = 10). The course was delivered in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa via theory presentations; case presentations; practical skills demonstrations and instruction with tutor feedback and self-development awareness group teaching methods. Questionnaires provided qualitative data for consideration and analysis. Key findings included: pre-training prevalent feelings of inadequacy to meet the therapeutic needs of vulnerable children using adult style counselling; post-training perceived raised awareness of the therapeutic power of play with positive impact on professional and personal lives; perceived increase in therapeutic play skills and increased ease in establishing therapeutic rapport. Training was largely beneficial increasing the confidence, knowledge and skills of the course participants.

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