Principles and Processes of the Therapeutic Play Group
The therapeutic play group is a specialized group practice which is used with emotionally disturbed young children who are in the early and middle latency period of development, approximately six to nine years of age. The therapeutic process in the play group is set in motion through the purposeful use of permissiveness by the group worker. The basic purpose of permissiveness is to enable children to express thoughts and emotions without anxiety. The setting of the play room and the role of the worker are realistic implementations of psychological theory, but, to the child, the highly permissive setting has an initial aspect of unreality. The self-regulating process within a play group is less efficient with young children of five and six years of age. The group worker must be alert to the special needs of these children, and he should be prepared to use intervention more frequently than with older children.