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Therapeutic Limit Setting in the Play Therapy Relationship

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Karen Kaiser

on 21 August 2013

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Transcript of Therapeutic Limit Setting in the Play Therapy Relationship

Therapeutic Limit Setting in the Play Therapy Relationship
Therapeutic Limit Setting in the Play Therapy Relationship
Play & Play Materials
When Limits are Broken
Complete ACT 2-3 times.
If the limit is still being broken . . .
Angie Ballard, Sylvia Christopher, and Karen Hall Kaiser
How to Set Limits
Discussion Questions
By Garry L. Landreth
"The process of setting limits is one of the most crucial variables in the play therapy relationship, and the methodology used may determine the depth of exploration and expression by the child."
Real Life Toys
Doll family
Doll house & furniture
Two play dishes and cups
Two telephones
For resistive, anxious, shy children: cars, boats, airplanes, and cash registers are recommended
"In play therapy, toys are viewed as the child's words, and play as the child's language."
Select toys and materials that facilitate the following goals: establishing a positive relationship, expressive of a wide range of feelings, allow exploration of real-life experiences, test limits, develop a positive image, and allow the opportunity to develop self-control.
Aggressive Release Toys
(May require more limits)
Handcuffs (release type without key)
Toy gun
Aggressive puppets (Alligators, Dragons, etc.)
Pounding Bench
Bop Bag
Toys for Creative Expression
(Greatly increase the need for limit setting)
8 count crayons (to avoid too many choices)
Craft Supplies: Pipe cleaners, scissors, popsicle sticks, tape, glue
Easel and paints
Sand/Water table
Nerf Ball
"The limit is the form or structure of an immediate relationship. It refers not only to a unique form but also to the possibility for life growth and direction rather than merely to a limitation. In a therapeutic relationship, limits provide the boundary or structure in which growth can occur."
Functions of Limits
Define boundaries of the therapeutic relationship
Provide safety and security for the child
Demonstrate the therapist's intent to provide safety for the child
Anchor the session to reality
Allow the therapist to maintain a positive and accepting attitude toward the child
Allow the child to express negative feelings without causing harm or fearing retaliation
Provide stability and consistency in the relationship
Promote and enhance the child's sense of self-control
Protect the play therapy materials and room
Provide for the maintenance of legal, ethical, and professional standards
Excessive limits restrict the child's creative, exploratory, and emotionally releasing expression. How will you emotionally handle avoiding excessive limits?

Without appropriate limit setting, the play therapy relationship is likely to be a disorganized, chaotic experience. What are your thoughts on altering the limits for each child or having set rules for everyone?
Why Set Limits?
State Final Choice
Indicate that the play item will be off limit for the rest of the session.
Make the decision the child's choice.
Deliver the choice without punishment or rejection.
Follow though with the consequence immediately.
Acknowledge the child's
feelings wishes & wants.
Communicate the limit.
Target acceptable
Full transcript