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A.1 Commitments and Responsibilities to the Client​
  1. Primary Responsibilities

    • The primary responsibility of the play therapist is to conduct therapy that respects the dignity, recognizes the uniqueness and promotes the best interests and welfare of the client. When working with minors, the best interest may include adjunctive therapy for the significant adults in the client’s life.

  2. Optimal Growth and Development

    • Play therapists encourage the advancement of the psychosocial development and positive mental health of clients through play and play therapy. Play therapists foster the client’s interest and welfare as well as the nurturing relationships in the client’s life.

  3. Therapeutic Treatment Plans

    • The play therapist may explain the developmentally appropriate treatment plan in an understandable manner to the client and/or his/her legal guardian, if applicable. This plan, which should contain measurable outcome goals, is reviewed regularly to ensure viability, effectiveness, and the continued support of the client and the involvement of the others in achieving the therapeutic goals.

  4. Documentation

    • Play therapists follow state licensing laws regarding the necessary content of their clinical records. In addition, APT recommends the following be included in ongoing documentation if possible:

      1. Current developmental level of functioning, i.e. cognitive, play, affective

      2. Long and short term goals of treatment

      3. Verbal content of sessions relevant to behavior and goals

      4. Description of the use of therapeutic touch

      5. Observed play themes and materials used

      6. Graphic images relevant to client behavior and goals, e.g. sketches of sand trays, drawings, photographs, videotapes, etc.

      7. Changes in thought process, mood/affect, play themes, and behavior 

      8. Interventions with significant others, e.g. adjunct therapy, referrals, etc. 

      9. Suicidal or homicidal intent or ideation as well as threat-ened or past incidents of aggression towards self or others

      10. Observations of client with significant others

      11. Level of family functioning and environment

      12. Conditions for termination

    • These records, irrespective of the medium in which they are stored (paper, digital, video), are safeguarded in every possible manner in accordance with federal and state law

  5. Educational Needs

    • If qualified through training and/or experience, the play therapist may work with the client and significant others in considering alternate educational placements that are consistent with the client’s overall abilities, physical restrictions, general temperament, interests, aptitudes, social skills, and other relevant individual differences and developmental needs that have become apparent through the play therapy.

    • Play therapists are ever mindful of the best interests of the client in recommending alternative educational placements and remain available to consult with professionals and staff in those placements.


A.2 Respecting Individual Differences
  1. Nondiscrimination

    1. Play therapists do not discriminate, condone discrimination or professionally associate with others who discriminate based upon age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification or socioeconomic status.

    2. Respect of Individual Differences

    3. Play therapists will actively participate in the provision of interventions that show understanding of the diverse cultural backgrounds of their clients, being cognizant of how their own cultural/ethnic/racial identity may influence interventions and therapeutic philosophy. The play therapist should make every effort to support and maintain the culture and cultural identity of clients.


A.3 Rights of Clients
  1. Informed Consent

    • The play therapist informs the client, and/or his/her legal guardian when applicable, of the purposes, goals, techniques, procedural limitations, potential and foreseeable risks and benefits of the services to be performed in developmentally appropriate language for the understanding of the client. The play therapist takes steps to ensure that the client, and his/her legal guardian when applicable, understands the implications of diagnosis, the intention of tests and reports, fees and billing arrangements. The client has the right to expect confidentiality and to be provided with an explanation of its limitations, including disclosure to appropriate legal guardian(s), supervision and/or treatment teams and governmental authority and to obtain clear information about any documents or documentations in their case records; to participate in the ongoing treatment plan as is appropriate to their developmental level. Play therapists seek the guardian’s signature on all consents, including for treatment whenever applicable.

  2. Freedom of Choice

    • Play therapists recognize that minor clients do not always have the freedom to choose whether they enter into the therapeutic relationship or with whom they enter into therapy unless specifically permitted by state law. However, the play therapist will advise the legal guardians of the minor client with a rationale for play therapy to assist in choosing whether to enter into a therapeutic relationship and to determine which professional(s) may provide for the best interest of the client. Restrictions that limit the choices of clients are fully explained. These may include, but are not limited to, insurance/payer restrictions or lack of emergency/after-hour services. Play therapists also disclose their credentials, any specialized training or lack of training, as it relates to the presenting problem.

  3. Inability to Give Consent

    • The play therapist acts in the best interest of the client, who for reasons of minority age or inability cannot give voluntary informed consent and adheres to the laws of their state regarding who can provide consent.


A.4 Clients Served by Multiple Resources

The play therapist must carefully consider the client’s welfare and treatment issues when the client is receiving services from another mental health, educational, or medical professional. The play therapist, with written permission from the client and/or legal guardian, consults other professional providers to develop clear agreements over coordination of treatment planning in order to avoid confusion, reduce conflict for the client(s), and avoid functioning outside of their role.


A.5 Therapist Needs and Values
  1. Therapist Personal Needs

    • In a therapeutic relationship, the play therapist is responsible for maintaining respect for the client and to avoid actions that meet the therapist’s personal or professional needs at the expense of the client.

  2. Therapist Personal Values

    • Play therapists recognize the vulnerability of clients and do not impose personal attitudes and beliefs on their clients. However, this does not mean therapists attempt to conduct therapy free of values. Play therapists set limits when the client’s behavior presents a danger to the client or others. Play therapists should also be aware of how their own values, attitudes and beliefs affect their clients. Lastly, play therapists should make every effort to convey to clients, and their legal guardians if applicable, the system or basis on which they, as therapists, make value judgments and decisions in therapy.


A.6 Dual Relationships
  1. Avoidance

    • Play therapists are alert to and guard against inappropriate multiple role relationships with clients and their significant others (including, but not limited to socializing, bartering and business arrangements) that could impair professional judgment, increase the risk of harm to the client or exploit the client through personal, social, organizational, political or religious relationships. Play therapists take appropriate professional precautions through informed consent, consultation, self-monitoring, supervision and/or documentation in an unavoidable multiple role relationship.

  2. Superior/Subordinate Relationships

    • Play therapists do not accept as clients the family members of superiors or subordinates with whom they have administrative, supervisory, or evaluative relationships.


A.7 Sexual Intimacies
  1. Current Clients

    • Play therapists do not have any type of sexual intimacies with clients and do not counsel the family members of persons with whom they have had or have a sexual relationship.

  2. Encouragement of Intimacies

    • Play therapists do not encourage inappropriate physical intimacies from the client or the client’s significant others.

  3. Requests for Nurturance

    • Play therapists respond positively to the client and offer encouragement, positive reinforcement, warmth, nurturance, and space to play and work through personal challenges.

  4. Therapeutic Touch

    1. Play therapists recognize the potentially therapeutic value of touch, a form of non-sexual touch, in play therapy. However, play therapists do not engage in any form of therapeutic touch without a knowledge of the relevant literature, supervised experience, consideration of the possible benefits and limitations on a case-by-case basis and the informed consent of the client and/or his/her legal guardian, when applicable.

    2. Play therapists who are considering the use of therapeutic touch should also be thoroughly familiar with the APT paper on touch.

    3. Inappropriate Touching of Therapist by Client

      • Play therapists recognize that clients who have been either sexually abused or inappropriately sexualized may initiate sexualized play with or inappropriate touching of the play therapist. A play therapist, who has been inappropriately touched by a client, should explain to the client that in the play therapy session, every person’s body is respected and is not touched in a way that makes them uncomfortable or that is generally considered inappropriate by society. The incident and intervention should be documented and discussed with the client and/or the client’s guardian as soon as it occurs.

  5. Former Clients

    • Play therapists never engage in sexual intimacies with a client or the parent, caregiver, legal guardian, or custodian of a minor client, either past or current.


  • 本協會專業守則按Association for Play Therapy (United States)專業守則而編定。   

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