Nancy King

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Counseling and Human Development


Play therapy is based upon the belief that the natural medium of self-expression for a child is play. Through his play he can express himself' fully, "play out" his feelings and problems and try out different roles and theories of getting along in his world. In this paper, various approaches to play therapy will be explored. The objectives of this study were to determine the applicability of' p1ay therapy in the elementary school, how it is being implemented in South Dakota schools, and to suggest a workable program that could be implemented in an elementary school counseling situation. Specifically, the purposes were: 1. To analyze the theoretical and research literature related to play therapy. 2. To analyze stated opinions of counselor educators in South Dakota concerning the needs of counselor preparation and the value of play therapy in elementary school counseling programs. 3. To analyze attitudes and experiences of elementary counselors in South Dakota concerning elementary school play therapy. On the basis of these methods of investigation, an organizational model for implementing play therapy was devised.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Recreational therapy


South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University