A meta-analysis of play therapy outcomes

A meta-analysis of play therapy outcomes

Leblanc, M. Ritchie, M.
Counselling Psychology Quarterly
A meta-analysis of play therapy outcomes with children aged 0-12 yrs was conducted to determine the overall effectiveness of play therapy and the variables related to effectiveness. Hierarchical linear modelling was used to analyze the data. The analysis showed an average treatment effect of 0.66 standard deviations. A strong relationship between treatment effectiveness and the inclusion of parents in the therapeutic process was reported. The duration of therapy also appeared to be related to treatment outcomes, with maximum effect sizes occurring after approximately 30 treatment sessions. Play therapy appeared to be as effective as non-play therapies in treating children experiencing emotional difficulties. Recommendations for future researchers focus on explaining therapeutic or participant characteristics that are related to treatment effectiveness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

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Type of intervention

Treatment and Child Welfare Interventions


Mental Health Problems and Disorders

Behavior Problems

Externalizing Behaviors / Challenging Behaviors

Anxiety Problems

Anxiety and Anxiousness

Development and Life Coping Skills

School Performance


Psychological Treatments

Play Therapy

Age group

Infants and Toddlers (0-2 years)

Preschool Aged Children (3-5 years)

School Aged Children (6-12 years)

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