Play is a way for children to learn about their environment and how their interactions occur within, though play children develop resilience. However some children may experience stressful occurrences during their existence and therefore play can often be restricted. Therefore, the play worker’s role in facilitating the children’s play is a crucial measure towards the child's development. Professionals that work with children have the skilfulness to prompt or even contribute to children’s play, which can be a principle aspect of therapeutic alliance. However, for those children mentioned above, what happens when play becomes non-existent or deprived, then how do these children engage in play? This has been a continuous argument amongst practitioners as well as researchers in the field of child development and consequently, this essay will “evaluate some of the benefits and challenges of developing play/leisure activities” of therapeutic play, along with identifying how play serves its purpose in regards to children’s holistic and play development. Furthermore, using a therapeutic alliance this essay will accentuate how the therapist can support children’s play, promoting and expanding the child’s play through the means of a child centred-play/directive approach to play therapy.
For all living beings play is an instinctive biological disposition, which helps to facilitate and enrich children’s overall development. As well as play being beneficial in assisting individual lives, many theorists as well as researchers have shown play to form a fundamental facet of children’s wellbeing, suggesting that providing the opportunity to play enables children with the ability to work out problems through solutions along with enhancing creativity.
In addition to play promoting pleasure as well as physical activity, play forms the holistic growth in children’s development, or to put it in another way using Brown (2003) acronym, acknowledged as ‘SPICE’; play represents the ‘social interaction’; ‘physical activity’; ‘intellectual stimulation’; creative achievement and emotional stability, (with the addition of “compound flexibility”) in a child’s development. Compound flexibility is the idea that a child’s psychological development occurs using the relationship between his/her environment with the adaptability of the child himself. Thus the flexibility of surroundings and his/her adaptableness can provide children the means to explore; experiment and investigate (Brown, 2003, pp. 53-4). On the contrary, the absence of social interaction and physical activity through the means of play can inhibit children’s overall development and without the consistencies of play children suffer a “chronic lack of sensory interaction with the world, [which leads to] a form of sensory deprivation” (Hughes, 2001, p.217 in Lester and Maudsley 2006).
Research conducted by Webb and Brown (2003) into the effects of hospitalised children ranging from between the ages of...