Title page for ETD etd-05092008-122953

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McMonigle, Catherine Lorraine
Author's Email Address clm@vt.edu
URN etd-05092008-122953
Title Parents' and Children's Experiences in Family Play Therapy
Degree Master of Science
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
McCollum, Eric E. Committee Chair
Gil, Eliana Committee Member
Huebner, Angela J. Committee Member
  • children
  • parents
  • experiences
  • perceptions
  • family play therapy
  • play therapy
Date of Defense 2008-04-30
Availability unrestricted
Family Play Therapy is a creative therapeutic approach to engage children in

therapy in the context of their family system. While the young field of family play

therapy offers both the benefits of family therapy and play therapy, research concerning

its efficacy is largely unavailable. The purpose of this qualitative study was to

understand the experience of family play therapy in context of child sexual abuse

treatment, from the perspective of child clients and their parents. A secondary purpose of

this descriptive study was to provide contextual data to inform future quantitative

research on family play therapy. In separate, semi-structured and open-ended interviews,

eight children and their non-offending parents described their therapy experience of the

family puppet interview intervention, in which they created and acted out a story with

puppets. Participants’ descriptions of their experience revealed five broad themes: (1) the

perceived benefits of play (what participants liked), (2) parents feelings about play as a

medium, (3) parent’s perceived role in the session, (4) children’s thoughts about family

participation in therapy, and (5) suggestions for improvement. A discussion of the

findings’ relevance to previous literature, clinical practice and future research, as well as

the limitations of this study is provided

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