Integrating creative arts modalities in the playroom and outside: Live and remote interventions

Reviewing the mechanisms of change related to the Creative Arts Therapies such as active involvement with symbolism, metaphor making, and the enjoyment that accompanies arts-based expression.


The second chapter of the book Play Therapy and Expressive Arts in a Complex and Dynamic World: Opportunities and Challenges Inside and Outside the Playroom presents an overview of how the practice of Play Therapy can be expanded to include Creative Arts Therapies and modalities as integrated actions within a cohesive intervention with children, their families, and in crisis situations. Typically, play therapy activity is presented as primarily conducted with children and involving a certain range of expressive activity such as play with toys, sand tray or puppets. However, play activity can be extended to include adults, families and the use of other expressive avenues such as drama, music, art, storytelling, and dance/movement interaction within the in-person playroom and online.

The use of several creative arts modalities can facilitate therapeutic powers that are part of the natural experience of interactive play that contribute to the individual’s development of an alliance, creativity, and an expanding of emotional expression. Mechanisms of change related to the Creative Arts Therapies such as active involvement with symbolism, metaphor making, and the enjoyment that accompanies arts-based expression are reviewed. The chapter also addresses how this creative arts/play approach has been applied online with international adult participants in response to the Covid-19 health crisis as well as with families, especially in situations when a verbal understanding is complex.


The author


Steve Harvey, PhD, RPT-S, BC-DMT, RDT is currently consulting in schools and is an adjunct faculty member in the Clinical Psychology department at the University of Guam. He has been an active contributor in the integration of expressive modalities in Play Therapy. He helped pioneer the field of Family Play Therapy.



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