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Tele-Play Therapy: Principles of remote interventions using the Therapeutic Powers of Play

Play Therapy offered through the virtual environment is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy but requires serious consideration.

The fourth 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 the practice of Tele-Play Therapy. Play Therapy offered through the virtual environment is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy but requires serious consideration of how virtual paediatric mental health service provision can be made safe, accessible, and a desirable option. The child and their family are the central focus to determine the level of Tele-Play Therapy intervention with seamless connectivity between the human and digital ecosystems.

In Section One, the principles for remote Tele-Play Therapy are established. First, Play Therapists should initially familiarise themselves with the scaffolded approach to telecommunications for Play Therapy. The second step is reviewing the guiding principles which set out both practice guidelines and contraindications for using telecommunications in Play Therapy. Thirdly is to consider and prepare the three Tele-Play Therapy practice environments, namely: the practitioner, child client and the virtual setting. Finally, a diverse range of telecommunications practice considerations is given. To highlight these principles in action a composite case example is offered in Section Two. Henry is the focal point of this remote Tele-Play Therapy intervention; the Therapeutic Powers of Play are aligned with his biopsychosocial health needs within the context of his family.

The authors

Kate Renshaw, B. Psych, Grad. Cert. HELT, Grad. Dip. Art Therapy, Grad. Dip. Play Therapy and PhD Candidate, is a Play and Filial Therapist, supervisor, and academic at Deakin University. She holds registrations with BAPT (RPT), APPTA (RPT/S), and APT (International Professional). Kate works therapeutically with children, families and teachers.

Judi Parson, PhD, MA Play Therapy, is a paediatric qualified Registered Nurse, Play Therapist/Supervisor, Discipline Lead and Senior Lecturer in Play Therapy. As an academic she has authored/edited over 30 publications, continues to provide clinical and research supervision, and offers Play Therapy services, face-to-face and online.

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