- Play for Children
Children’s play is a powerful tool for self-expression, communication, and learning. It is a universal language that transcends time, cultures, and linguistic boundaries. Children engage in play for the sheer joy of it, without worrying about the outcome, Play allows children to explore their feelings, develop their social skills, and learn about the world around them. Similar to how adults use words to express themselves and communicate, children utilize play as a form of language to convey their thoughts and feelings. By respecting and supporting children’s play, adults can help them to develop their creativity, problem-solving abilities, and emotional resilience
２．What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is a form of child psychotherapy that utilizes play and the therapeutic relationship between a child and play therapist in a safe environment with play equipment to facilitate the child’s exploration and expression of their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Play therapy, like psychotherapy in general, draws on various theoretical foundations. Each theoretical approach offers unique perspectives on the therapeutic process and provides specific techniques and interventions for the play therapist to use. While play therapy sessions may differ depending on the theory that the play therapist subscribes to, it is essential for the therapist to provide treatment based on a theory and also have the flexibility to apply the most effective and appropriate treatment based on the child’s developmental stage and individual needs. This requires a skilled and adaptable therapist who can create a supportive environment for the child to express themselves and work through their difficulties using the most suitable approach
３．What is Therapeutic Play
Therapeutic Play is the use of play to support a child’s overall development and well-being. It involves creating a safe and supportive environment where children can freely express themselves and interact with others. It can be useful in preventing or addressing mild psychosocial and behavioral issues, and immediate post-trauma experience reactions. Therapeutic play can also be used as a method of detecting more serious problems that can be dealt with by referring for play therapy. Therapeutic play can be used in a variety of settings such as schools, community centers, hospitals, etc., facilitated by responsible adults who have been trained in the understanding and use of therapeutic play. It is different from play therapy in that: 1. it is not a psychotherapeutic treatment; 2. it is used in alleviating milder conditions, and; 3. the facilitator does not have to be a play therapist. Furthermore the following requirements for play therapists are not necessary for therapeutic play facilitators: 1. psychological theory; 2. Code of Ethics*; 3. play therapy training, and; 4. clinical supervision.
*When therapeutic play is being utilized by a mental health professional, they must abide by their Code of Ethics.
JAPT is a nonprofit organization that focuses on exploring the field of child psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology, which form the theoretical foundations of play therapy. The association engages in activities such as public relations, planning and hosting training seminars, and research to promote the use of play therapy in Japan. JAPT primarily focuses on helping infants, children, adolescents, and their parents who are struggling with psychological difficulties, while it also supports parents raising children. The association’s main activities include research, public relations, and training workshops on the power of play, therapeutic play, effective and appropriate play therapy approaches, and child-rearing. Additionally, JAPT provides support to mental health professionals, teachers, childcare workers, psychiatrists and other specialists through public relations (provision of information), and training workshops.
JAPT aims to increase society’s recognition of the power of children’s play, therapeutic play, and play therapy for children. The association conducts research not only on the theoretical aspects but also on practical and suitable methods for children to appreciate and embrace the world of play. Through our activities, we hope to create a society that values children’s play and promotes children’s growth and development.
For those who align with JAPT’s values and purpose and would like to support its activities please contact our secretariat for information on donations, providing venues, and alternative means of assistance.
Japan Association for Play Therapy Board of Directors
- Ryoko Honda (Clinical Psychologist, Certified Psychologist, Madhyama Mental Clinic Kawasaki, CIFC Counseling Room Ichigaya)
- Akiko Ohnogi (Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Dr. Ohnogi Psychotherapy & Counseling)
- Yumiko Ogawa (Clinical Psychologist, RPT-S: American Play Therapy Association Certified Play Therapist-Supervisor)
- Takako Yuno (Clinical Psychologist, Family Mental Clinic Matsutani, RPT-S)
- Mayumi Seida (Clinical Psychologist, Certified Psychologist)
- Nobuyo Matsuoka(Clinical Psychologist, Certified Psychologist, Sakushin Gakuin University Graduate School Clinical Psychology Center, etc.)
- Yuki Kamoto (Clinical Psychologist, Certified Psychologist, Mental Health Social Worker)
- Mami Doi (Clinical Psychologist, Certified Psychologist,)
- Miyako Wada (Certified Psychologist, Madhyama Mental Clinic Kawasaki)