Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Using play therapy in outpatient settings

Meer PA. (1985). Using play therapy in outpatient settings. MCN. The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. 10 (6).

This article demonstrates the ambiguity existing in terms such as "play therapy" in research contemporary to it. What is described here is toys being used by nurses in calming children and preparing them for medical procedures, which is very different from the play therapies used by professional therapists in building permissive and accepting relationships with "troubled" children.

Aside from this rather frustrating catachresis, the article describes the interesting application of play-related concepts to children in health care settings. Specifically, puppets and dolls can be used to familiarize children with the equipment and procedures they will later be exposed to. Allowing children to participate in this play-acting can make them feel more control over the situation, assuaging some of their anxiety and leading to an overall feeling of independence.

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