Play Therapists’ Perceptions of Wellness and Self-Care Practices

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Abstract

The importance of professional helpers’ wellness and self-care has received significant attention in the past decade and is even considered an ethical obligation by many organizations for professional helpers. Play therapists, compared with providers of other treatment modalities, might be more susceptible to professional and personal impairment because they bear witness to children’s experiences through the process of play therapy, which can illicit strong emotional reactions from the client and from the therapist. They may also be at a heightened risk because of their nature to want to protect and nurture children. Yet no published accounts of research were found to elaborate specifically on play therapists’ wellness attitudes and experiences. We surveyed Registered Play Therapists and Registered Play Therapist Supervisors about their perceptions, practices, and suggestions for wellness and self-care. Results provide preliminary and exploratory data, implications for play therapists and supervisors, and suggestions for more research on this topic.

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