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Play therapy has emerged as a culturally and developmentally appropriate intervention for addressing the mental health needs of children in a variety of settings, including schools. The inclusion of a diverse array of toys by play therapists can allow children to explore issues, process emotions, and develop solutions through their language of play. In particular, some children require safe and open spaces to address experiences with violence or trauma through aggressive play or toys, including weapons. For school-based play therapists, the inclusion of aggressive toys can be difficult due to controversy surrounding the impact of aggressive toys in play along with school-based policies maintaining zero-tolerance. The research team explored the experiences and perceptions of 15 school-based play therapists regarding the use of aggressive toys. Four overarching themes emerged from the data: aggressive toys in practice, therapeutic factors of aggressive toys, conceptions of aggression and play therapy, and environmental considerations. We discuss the implications for school-based play therapy practice, training, and supervision along with recommendations for future research.
Play Therapy Primary Areas:
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