Author Information

Julia LaMotte


This research examined the use of Play Therapy with children who have experienced emotional, physical or psychological trauma. Past research supports other therapeutic modalities as being effective with children after a traumatic experience, though the validity of play therapy lacks comprehensive quantitative and qualitative support. Based on the concept that play is the natural language of children, this form of treatment is developmentally appropriate, specifically with children under the age of twelve. For the purposes of this research, trauma was categorized in to Type 1 (single occurrences) and Type 2 (recurring trauma). A review of the literature found that although there has been an increase in the use of play therapy, there are disparities in the suggested styles; directive versus child-centered. Though play therapy is becoming increasingly more validated, the field lacks longitudinal studies and research outside of the United States.

Note on the Author

Julia LaMotte is a senior in the psychology department, graduating in May of 2011. This research began in the summer of 2010 as an Adrian Tinsley Program Summer Grant under the direction of Dr. John Calicchia and has provided background to a two semester honors thesis on a sub-type of trauma. Julia has presented this research at the 2010 Adrian Tinsley Undergraduate Research Summer Symposium and the Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference.

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