Child Play Therapists’ Understanding and Application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Narrative Analysis

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Abstract

Narrative inquiry was used to explore the ways in which play therapy practitioners understand and uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in their practice. Seven play therapy practitioners responded to questions about their experiences of working within a rights-based framework. Analysis of their responses revealed 5 themes: Child play therapy upholds Article 39; respondents demonstrated an implicit rather than explicit understanding of children’s rights; children are sometimes perceived only in terms of their behaviors; there can be a tension between the rights of the child and adults’ rights; and therapists aim to support children’s right to choice, privacy, and confidentiality, but this is not always easy. These findings are intended to support further development of curriculum and course content for trainee therapists and professional development for practitioners. The results add further evidence regarding the need to engage a rights framework when developing policy for early years therapeutic support services.

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