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Halfon, S. (2017). Play Profile Constructions: An Empirical Assessment of Children’s Play in Psychodynamic Play Therapy. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 16(3):219-233.

(2017). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 16(3):219-233

Play Profile Constructions: An Empirical Assessment of Children’s Play in Psychodynamic Play Therapy

Sibel Halfon, Ph.D.

Play assessment can be used therapeutically to determine whether and how play would be an appropriate intervention mode for children with clinical diagnoses, and to track their therapeutic progress. However, detailed and standardized play protocols that can catalogue children’s play behaviors in psychodynamic therapy are not widely available. The aim of this study was to empirically construct profiles of play using items selected from the Children’s Play Therapy Instrument (CPTI), reflecting the complex play patterns of children with mental health difficulties. These constructed play profiles integrate quantitative items associated with cognitive, affective, social qualities of play, as well as children’s coping strategies. The initial session of 62 children in psychodynamic play therapy was recorded, transcribed and coded using the CPTI, and children’s play profiles were computed. The reliability of the play profiles, and their preliminary associations with children’s symptomatic and behavioral functioning were tested. Results showed that the play profiles showed good inter-rater reliability, internal consistency and their associations were in expected directions with the majority of the criterion measures. Given the limitations of the current empirical play measures in clinical settings, the preliminary validation provided in this study of the play profiles add a significant contribution to existing literature.

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