Ethical Considerations for Play Therapy Supervision

Ethical Considerations for Play Therapy Supervision

Laura Jean Fazio-Griffith (Southeastern Louisiana University, USA), Reshelle Marino (Southeastern Louisiana University, USA) and Michael Leeman (Southeastern Louisiana University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4628-4.ch001
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This chapter will address the ethical considerations for play therapy supervision. The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics will be discussed in relation to the supervision process. Ethical issues that will occur during the play therapy process will be presented and discussed. The role of the supervisor in assisting the supervisee during the play therapy process and working with parents/caregivers will be explored in relation to ethical issues. A case study will highlight some ethical issues and provide some implications for discussion.
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The use of techniques and interventions for play therapy during the supervision process for graduate and post-graduate counselors provides a host of benefits for the counseling student, post-graduate intern, and supervisor. The counselor in training is able to experientially integrate theory with practice through the use of different modalities that provide reflection and insight into their work with clients. In addition to the use of different modalities, reflection and insight, it is imperative that counselors and supervisors are aware of the ethical considerations that can occur during the process of play therapy. This chapter, Ethical Considerations for Play Therapy Supervision, will serve as an introduction to ethical considerations during the play therapy supervision process. Subsequent chapters in this book address ethical considerations for each specific play therapy supervision topic. This chapter provides a general framework of the ethical responsibilities and challenges that play therapy supervisors can encounter. A general overview of the literature as it relates to play therapy supervision and ethical considerations, along with a case conceptualization study are included in the chapter. The case study specifically addresses ethical considerations and provides a window into some of the information addressed in subsequent chapters.

Play therapy supervision requires attention to the ethical considerations that can arise from working exclusively with children and adolescents. Supervision is a multifaceted process that requires the supervisor and the supervisee to be well versed in their respective code of ethics (Bernard & Goodyear, 2019). However, a variety of ethical concerns can become present during the play therapy process, which, in turn can influence the supervision process. Some of the ethical issues that arise during the process of play therapy, as well as supervision can consist of counselor or supervisor competence and training, multiple relationships, informed consent, and confidentiality (Association for Play Therapy, 2019). This chapter will focus on the ethical considerations during the play therapy process, specifically the supervision process. Inclusive in this chapter are some major ethical considerations for supervision during the play therapy process, a case study, and implications for supervisors and counselor educators to develop and hone their supervision skills.

Play therapy is defined as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development” (Association for Play Therapy, 2019). Supervisors are responsible for facilitating the supervision process and must be responsive to the level of knowledge, skills, and awareness of their supervisees. Supervision requires an awareness of differing factors that can influence the therapeutic process (Bernard & Goodyear, 2019). Supervision of play therapy techniques and interventions requires special consideration to the importance of therapeutic factors specifically related to children and adolescents, such as a lack of autonomy, limited coping strategies, different communication styles than adults, and dysfunctional home environments (Association for Play Therapy, 2019).

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