ioners, and allows children to take charge of the play by their selves, in a manner that result to dealing with emotional, behavioural or other issues (Axline 1976, p. 20; Wilson and Ryan 2005, p. 59). It also helps the formation of the child-therapist relationship, understanding that one should be non-judgmental and create a favorable environment that promotes development in the child. Playing with imaginative toys let a child to deal with issues that would not undermine his or her defenses against topics that are emotionally demanding. Furthermore, play appears to be an intrinsic ability that has a mental organizing mechanism throughout the process of development, using mainly non-verbal symbols (Wilson and Ryan 2005, p. 64).
Nancy Boyd Webb outlines the basic purposes of play therapy: to deal with emotional, problem solving, behavioural, and spiritual issues confronted by children. She also differentiates play from play therapy, in that the latter places play in the context of a therapeutic relationship, which results to a needed healing process (p. 47).
Specific forms of therapy that deal with children and play are structured play, quasi-naturalistic play, and free play (Eisenberg 2004, p. 31). According to Shriberg and Kwiatkowski (1982, p. 250), structured play involves using play to motivate the child to try to produce a desired response. However, it is okay if the response is not correct, as the focus is to encourage the child to participate in the play session and make an attempt towards a different behaviour. Quasi-naturalistic play focuses on giving an environment that assures the child of his or her safety and that the adult will follow through depending on the child’s own progress. It could be child-initiated, where prompts are given only after the child has clearly initiated interactions, or directive or teacher-initiated, where prompts are presented to elicit interaction from the child and to guide him or her towards goals set by the therapist.