Axline's principles

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Virginia M Axline’s theory on Play Therapy

Virginia M. Axline (1911-1988) was an American psychologist. She was a student of Carl Rogers (1942), who is the founder of non-directive therapy and today referred as person- centred therapy. Axline developed non-directive play therapy, which applied Carl R Roger’s person-centred therapy principle in play therapy. It based on theory that the child’s behaviours is constantly caused by drive for self-realization. In Axline’s books, Dibs in Search of Self (1964) and Play Therapy (1947), she demonstrated different cases of using play therapy. In summary of non-directive play therapy, child chooses the theme, content and the process
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5) Maintaining responsibility for child to make choice during the session. In role-play, child can choose to continue playing with the sand tray or stop play. Stay with the child, giving the space and time for child to do whatever he needs at that moment. The basic theoretic belief of non-directive play therapy is promoting self-awareness and insight within the individual, so as to manifest change in behaviour. Placing the child as the focus of the therapy, tried to help child to realize his responsibility for himself. The whole therapeutic sand play session (10 mins) become child’s time to do whatever he needs to. Therapy remain with the child though the whole 10 mins, even child stated that he finished what he needs to do. No objection nor suggestion from therapy. Keep quite; stay calm, close and interested to the child.
6) Child leads
During the therapy, Therapist does not attempt to direct child’s behaviour or conversation, or not even tried to interrupt what the child’s had done in the sandy tray. Therapy waited for child’s decision on what materials he chose and his decision about how to play with it. Follow the child, when he decided to stop, respect his decision. Reflect his decision and follow him, allow him to get into sand play again. Not intrude to the child’s play. Therapist became a very unique person that help the child to realized what he is. Therapist keeps her own feeling, opinion,
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