group play therapyPlay therapy with groups of children can be a powerful modality for growth and healing. Much of the research done to demonstrate efficacy of play therapy has been with groups of children.  Many children benefit from being able to participate in group play therapy. Working with groups of children provides opportunities for play therapists to support social and emotional development as well as relationship building.

In addition to being beneficial to your child clients, developing and offering play therapy groups in your private practice is an excellent way to leverage your professional time and increase your income.

Adding group play therapy to your practice has many benefits!

I recently led a live webinar on how to create groups with particular play based interventions focused on various topics such as social skills, kindergarten readiness, anxiety, grief, and changing families. That webinar was recorded and now is available  (2 hours of non-contact training for APT and NBCC). So, I thought I would provide a bit of a preview of that training here in order to help you decide whether this is something you’d like to bring more into your practice.
There are many benefits to group play therapy and there are many options for the way you structure and develop your groups. It’s usually best to group children who are very close in age and developmental stage, but it is possible to have a wider range of age and development if there are common challenges or issues.

Benefits of Group Play Therapy

In my recorded training about group play therapy, I review the following 6 benefits:

  • Normalizing
  • Relationship-building and connection
  • Being seen, heard and witnessed
  • Increased self-awareness
  • New life and coping skills
  • Enhances social and emotional awareness and skills
“Group play therapy can enhance the self-awareness, self- regulation,
social communication, empathy and adoptability in children.” (Chinekeshet al., 2013)

Emotional intelligence is generally considered to be something that develops through learning, awareness and practice. When children are able to learn to identify emotions, express emotions adaptively they are learning to regulate and communicate. For instance, learning what it is to have empathy for others is something children can develop in group play therapy.

š“In the process of interacting, children help one another assume
responsibility in interpersonal relationships.”
– Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship, Garry Landreth, 2002
šIt is through the connections within relationships formed in group play therapy that children have a place to explore, express, and experience thoughts, feelings and ideas which can help to empower children and increase positive self esteem.
“Limit setting and reality testing occur as the group serves as
a tangible microcosm of society.”
– Handbook of Group Play Therapy by Sweeney and Homeyer, 1999

When a group of children are brought together and being guided by a play therapist who meets with them regularly and engages through the power of play something magical happens. Whether it is a child-centered play therapy group, or one that is directed by the therapist, children are able to learn with and from one another in ways that carry over into the rest of their lives in healthy and positive ways.

Group play therapy can help you level up in your private practice.

When I am providing business consultation for therapists, I often hear that they have plenty of individual clients and are needing to know how to grow and expand beyond seeing clients 1:1. I frequently recommend therapists develop therapy groups in order to provide support for more clients at one time while offering a valuable growth and healing opportunity that goes beyond what individual therapy offers.

There are many kinds of groups you might lead. Here are just a few ideas:
  • Social skills groups
  • Divorce and changing families support groups
  • Going to kindergarten groups
  • Grief groups
  • Sibling groups
  • Emotion awareness groups
  • Anxiety management groups

So, if you’d like to learn more about group play therapy and want to obtain 2 hours of training with NBCC and APT approved providers hop over to THIS LINK and get access with a self-paced training platform.