Play and Play Therapy

Play and play therapy are both growing areas of research. Play focused publications can be found in psychology, education, social care, health and play therapy journals and academics at the University of South Wales have published across these different areas of study. The principle aim of the play and play therapy research centre is to build on existing research within the department and further develop a programme of research into play and play therapy.

The core objectives for the play and play therapy research group are to:

  • Develop new ideas related to play and play therapy research;
  • Develop and conduct research which has practical relevance for all play practitioners: play therapists, early years practitioners and playworkers;
  • Encourage students at both undergraduate and postgraduate to undertake relevant research and publish in the field;
  • Strengthen existing research on play and play therapy with the department.


Play and Play Therapy Research

Perceptions of Play and Implications for Young Children’s Learning and Early Years Classroom Practice
Dr Karen McInnes’ research focuses on children’s perceptions of play and how these might be used to create playful learning situations in early years’ classrooms which enhance their learning and wellbeing. A series of studies has shown that by manipulating the cues children use to differentiate between play and not play activities, children can approach a task in a more playful manner and their learning is optimised. In addition, these studies have shown that practitioners’ beliefs and understanding of play have an effect on how they interact with children during activities and can maximise or inhibit the potential for playful learning. Read more…

Profiling Play Therapy in Wales
Play therapy is a small, but developing, profession across the UK. In recent years, due to the development and delivery of a British Association of Play Therapy (BAPT) accredited MSc in Play Therapy at the University of South Wales (formerly the University of Glamorgan), play therapy provision in Wales has increased. An All Wales Play Therapy Group meets regularly and identified that although play therapy provision in Wales has increased, the nature of that provision is unknown. This lack of knowledge encompasses the number of therapeutic practitioners practicing as play therapists, the nature and extent of their training, the nature of the clients they work with and their future training needs. Therefore, the aim of this research study is to provide a profile of play therapists and play therapy provision in Wales. Questions to be answered include: How many play therapy practitioners are currently working in Wales?; Where are they working in Wales?; How many play therapy supervisors are there in Wales?; What types of clients are play therapists working with in Wales?
What types of therapeutic practice do they utilize?; What training have they undertaken?; What further training would be helpful to practitioners to extend their therapeutic knowledge and understanding?