Therapist Perceptions of Relationship Conditions in Child-Centered Play Therapy

Document Type


Publication Date



Child-centered play therapy (CCPT) has over 70 years of research documenting its’ effectiveness for children with a variety of presenting problems and diagnoses. Less is known about the therapeutic relationship and its’ influence in the process of CCPT. In this study, a single case design was employed to examine the therapist’s perspective of relationship conditions across CCPT. Two child–therapist dyads participated in this study. Two preschool children qualified for participation because of their clinical level of behavioral problems as identified by parents on the Behavior Assessment System for Children-2: Parent Rating Scales – Preschool (BASC-2:PRS-P). Therapist perceptions of the therapeutic relationship were assessed with the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory: Form MO-40 (BLRI: MO-40) after each session. The effectiveness of CCPT was assessed with pre-, mid-, and post-parent ratings on the BASC-2:PRS-P. In this investigation, we found that both children showed progress in reducing their presenting problems, and that therapist-perceived congruence, level of regard, and empathy increased while unconditionality decreased. Possible implications and future research is discussed