One of my favorite aspects of going to Conferences is leaving with a dozen scraps of paper telling me what else to start reading about next.  The names may be obvious or obscure – they may even include documents that I’ve pretended to read and quoted extensively in college papers (shh, don’t tell.  Admitting my ignorance is a new thing I’m trying).

Sometimes though, you don’t even have to read the thing to have your mind blown open.

Virginia Axline is a new addition to my list, and I scribbled down her 8 Principles of Play Therapy as the PowerPoint slides flew past.  Take a look at them, and see if they sound familiar.

1. Develop friendly relationship with child

2. Accept the child without question

3. Establish a permissive relationship

4. Recognize and reflect the feelings of the child

5. Maintain respect for the child’s problem-solving skills

6. Let the child lead

7. No agenda

8. Make only necessary limitation

Not very different from the Playwork Principles are they?  They just came out 54 years earlier!

I read Sturrock and Else’s Colorado Paper (available free through Ludemos) a few years ago, and got very interested in the therapeutic potential of play – in ways we might help the children create an environment in which they could experience all the curiosity, experimentation, exploration, imagination and recovery that make play so extraordinary.  There’s so much to read, always more papers that cite more books – how will we ever catch up?

I also found a short film of the ever-brilliant Fraser Brown in three parts, in which he discusses a definition of Playwork broad enough to encompass Play Therapy as a branch of it.

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