Adlerian Play Therapy: an individual psychological perspective on the role of play in child psychotherapeutic setting

Poster session presented at the XXIV S.I.P.I. National Congress – “The settings in Individual Psychology”, Turin, 2013.

The full article is available for download in Italian only.

Summary. The paper aims to promote a theoretical, methodological and clinical reflection about the way play is conceptualized and used in child psychotherapy according to the individual-psychological perspective. From the 90s a line of research and studies has been developed in America, at the University of Texas, that started and structured a technique and a therapeutic methodology named “Adlerian Play Therapy”; this therapy develops and analyses the steps of the child therapeutic treatment through the use of play during sessions. According to Alfred Adler, playing is an expressive intrapsychic and relational instrument through which the child manifests his/her integration in life, his/her personal creative way to develop and organize the psychic trends that s/he is developing, which are the social feeling and will of power. The individual-psychological perspective, unlike the perspective of M. Klein, is not guided by prerecognised symbolic equations: toys do not carry a prior symbolic value, but are rather considered according to the symbolic value of the “object-toy” itself, and conveyed and lived by the child in front of and in the relationship with the therapist. In this work the meaning, values, symbolism, quality of the experience expressed while playing at intrapsychic and relational level, according to the Adlerian theory, will be analysed, opening up technical-methodological prospects that have not been deeply developed to this day, which allows therefore the growth of new contents.