A focus on the role of nature as therapeutic ally for the play therapist and child in the process of regulating and nourishing a child’s sense of where they are, who they are and what being safe feels like.
The sixth chapter of the book Play Therapy and Expressive Arts in a Complex and Dynamic World: Opportunities and Challenges Inside and Outside the Playroom considers the relevance and influence of the environment as context for child development and therapeutic process in Nature-based Therapeutic Play and Play Therapy. The emergence in infancy of embodied imagination through playful relationship and the developmental importance of being grounded in the body, in dynamic relationship with the environment, are explored.
The theoretical framework draws on the author’s clinical practice and a synthesis of theory from human development, applied neurobiology, somatics and psychodynamic theory, and focuses on the role of nature as therapeutic ally for the play therapist and child in the process of regulating and nourishing a child’s sense of where they are, who they are and what being safe feels like. The case study vignettes show that immersive play experiences in the natural environment promote a child’s growth, development and healing, and evoke the possibilities, wonder and limits of being a human being.
Maggie Fearn, MA DATP, MA HIPPT is Humanistic and integrative child psychotherapist, BAPT Play Therapist and clinical supervisor; Senior Lecturer, University of South Wales and the Children’s Therapy Centre, Eire. Her clinical practice with children and their families is developmental and trauma informed. Her research explores the evidence base for Nature-based Play Therapy interventions.