Learn to Play Therapy in high risk countries: The example of Nigeria

The example of a project developed in schools and day care settings aimed to strengthen the local support system as a means of widening the range of protective factors for children and their families.


The fifth chapter of the book Play Therapy and Expressive Arts in a Complex and Dynamic World: Opportunities and Challenges Inside and Outside the Playroom provides an overview of Learn to Play Therapy and explores the application of this model in high risk countries with both clinical and non clinical populations. After introducing the general psychosocial conditions and challenges for youth and their families, the chapter provides a specific and practical example of a project developed in schools and day care settings in Nigeria. The project aimed to strengthen the local support system as a means of widening the range of protective factors for children and their families.

The authors describe the key role of teachers and other local professionals in applying play and Play Therapy to: create an optimal learning environment; foster fundamental skills in children such as narrative language ability, self-regulation, and emotional-social competence; support children in reaching their potential and overcoming psychosocial problems. The gradual progression from introductory activities to more specialised activities is also presented highlighting the importance of adapting daily practice to identified needs. Case studies are provided to bring the content ‘alive’ and illustrate the concrete application of the Learn to Play approach.


The authors


Claudio Mochi, MA, RP, RPT-S is psychologist and psychotherapist, Director of the training program at the International Academy for Play Therapy (INA) in Switzerland, Founder of the APT Italy. He has conducted trainings and projects in disaster mental health field internationally, and presented on Play Therapy and trauma in 6 continents and over 20 countries.


Karen Stagnitti, PhD, BOccThy, GCHE is Emeritus Professor in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. She has over 40 years experience in clinical practice with children and families, and research and teaching at university level. She has over 140 publications.



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