Play has been described as an activity that has the following five characteristics, according to Peter Gray: (1) it is self-chosen and self-directed; (2) intrinsically motivated; (3) guided by mental rules; (4) imaginative; and (5) conducted in an active, alert, but relatively nonstressed frame of mind. Play has been used as the context, and the impetus for many interventions aimed at improving the mental and physical welfare of both children and adults. In the early 1900s, mental health concerns for children and the pioneering efforts of a handful of psychoanalysts gave rise to the intervention known as play therapy. This entry provides an overview of play therapy, focusing on child-centered play therapy (CCPT) and its use as well as the role of play therapy in ...

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