The Effect of Child-Centered The Journal of Counseling Research and Practice (JCRP) on Academic Achievement with Normal Volume 3, No. 1 Functioning School Children 1-15

Pedro Blanco Ryan Holliman Janelle Farnam Alexandria Pena Texas Woman’s University

Abstract This examination of normal functioning second grade students investigated the effect of child-centered play therapy (CCPT) on academic achievement. The treatment group was provided with biweekly play therapy sessions consisted of 30 minutes for a period of eight weeks. The results demonstrated the second graders who participated within the study (n=27) exhibited a statistically significant increase on the Woodcock Johnson III Total Brief Achievement Score (Mather & Woodcock, 2001) in comparison to the children within the waitlist control group (n=23). Findings advocate the usage of CCPT as an intervention for academic achievement.

Play Therapy within Elementary suggested to be the most likely way Schools children will receive the mental health interventions, a service necessary for the Child-centered play therapy deemed crisis expanding among youth (CCPT) implementation within the school (Blanco & Ray, 2011). Moreover, meta- system has been a growing topic of analyses such as one by Ray et al. (2014) investigation in play therapy research. determined the use of CCPT in schools is Research showing evidence of the positive a positive intervention in a school setting. impact play therapy is having on children In a review of play therapy within the when implemented early in the school school system, Perryman (2016) stated settings, may be the cause of this growing many initial mental health issues within area of interest in the field (Ray, children are identified when children enter Armstrong, Balkin, & Jayne, 2014). Allen into the school, therefore, “it seems both and Barber (2015) indicated child-centered optimal and crucial for interventions to be play therapy, when implemented in the implemented at this point…because it is school, can ameliorate emotional and the most developmentally appropriate social issues that impact academics. method” (p. 487). Additionally, Green & Christensen (2006) further described the positive impact play Child-centered play therapy is a therapy research has demonstrated in developmentally appropriate, culturally elementary-aged children as a creative sensitive, and greatly researched and intervention used in schools to promote support intervention for elementary academic, social, and emotional school-aged children (Blanco & Sheely- development. Developing play therapy Moore 2012; Trice-Black, Bailey, & programs in the school setting has been Kiper, 2013). Within the play therapy Blanco, et al. ______

session, children are able to express real-world school setting (Ray et al., themselves through their natural language 2014). Due to the existing evidence of the of play (Bratton, Edwards, & Landreth, efficacy of play therapy within the school 2009). Through play children can learn to setting and the accessibility of offering express themselves, accept and respect mental health care to children within the themselves, to make choices and take schools, it is imperative that this form of responsibility for themselves and those therapy becomes more utilized within such choices, to be resourceful and creative, an influential environment. and self-control (Landreth, Ray, & Bratton, 2009). Effects of Child-Centered Play Therapy on Academic Performance Play therapy is not only developmentally appropriate is has the CCPT and its influence on ability to be successfully implemented academic performance has been a with children at various academic levels prevalent topic of study in recent years in and with diverse needs (Trice-Black, an effort to incorporate play therapy more Bailey, & Kiper, 2013). In a meta- easily within the elementary school analysis, CCPT was shown to be an setting. Research suggests that play effective in-school intervention positively therapy can aid in children’s academic effecting internalizing behaviors, acquisition through the provision of externalizing behaviors, total problems, opportunities to address and subdue self-efficacy, academic performance and emotional difficulties which can delay other problems at statistically significant intellectual growth (Trice-Black, Bailey, levels (Ray, et al, 2014). CCPT provides & Riechel, 2013). Allen and Barber (2015) children with means of expression that asserted that play is instrumental for transcend language, sociopolitical, and academic readiness achievement in the cultural barriers through the use of school due to play having been nonverbal and symbolic means (Lin & demonstrated as an integral component in Bratton, 2015). It has shown to be aiding children for the proper acquirement culturally sensitive due to its ability to of language and cognition. Based on this, present empathy, acceptance, and one could infer that play therapy, when genuineness to students equally within a implemented within the school system, multicultural structure (Trice-Black, et al, would only be supportive of the 2013). development and application of these language and cognitive skills. Child-centered play therapy remains optimal due to its effectiveness However, Blanco and Ray (2011) “across presenting issues, (has) issued a study which assessed the effects demonstrated the greatest benefit for of play therapy on academic achievement broad-spectrum behavioral problems, within the school setting with students children’s self-esteem, and caregiver-child identified as academically at-risk. This relationship stress” (Lin & Bratton, 2015, study further indicated that those students p. 54). Reviewing the multiple meta- who received CCPT improved in multiple analyses over play therapy interventions, it domains of academic achievement. The has been determined that CCPT is a observed effect of CCPT could be due to positive intervention that is effective in the the environment which characterized

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warmth and unconditional positive regard Academic Achievement and Play towards the children that were in the Therapy with Normal Functioning experimental group. Past research Children indicated that overall behavior, academic improvement, speech improvement, and a Play therapy has proven to be an rise in self-esteem have occurred through effective intervention for normal the use of CCPT (Blanco & Ray, 2011; functioning children. According to Danger & Landreth, 2005; Kot, Landreth, Moustakas (1953) play therapy, “presents & Giordano, 1998; Post, McAllister, a unique experience for normal children Sheely, & Flowers, 2004; Perryman, 2016, (by offering) a relationship in a situation p. 500). In addition, this permissive where the boundaries are greatly environment has been theorized to give expanded” (p. 19). In this manner, the children a sense of freedom to develop child’s imaginative play can be molded internal coping strategies, responsibility into anything they want it to be. There are for their actions, and in response to no preexisting conditions for the child to implantation of this facilitative meet when entering the therapeutic environment, children have become more relationship as it honors the child for who open to learning (Blanco & Ray, 2011). they are, their actions, impulses, and When children perceive warmth, caring, projections as they express what is going and safety in their environments, they are on in their world (Moustakas, 1953). In more likely to be able to concentrate on observing how normal children engage in their learning and what is going on in the play therapy, Moustakas (1953) found that school environment (Blanco & Ray, normal children do not hesitate to express 2011). negative feelings and to take responsibility for those feelings and are not so intense Moreover, Authors (under review) and serious within their play. He also conducted a study with academically at- discovered normal children are more risk children which spontaneous and decisive, and often determined the growth of certain academic discuss their play experiences with skills in , Mathematics, and important people in their lives, including Spoken Language when children were aggressive and regressive aspects of their administered play therapy. In a follow-up play (Moustakas, 1953). Moreover, with study focused on long-term CCPT and normally functioning children, Moustakas academic achievement, findings suggest (1953) found that the most important part that a continued use of this intervention in of the play experience tends to be focused the school settings leads to gradual on the child’s relationship with the positive increases on overall academic therapist and is created in a short span of composite scores on the YCAT (Blanco, time. Ray, & Holliman, 2012). This finding supports other research that has found Blanco, Muro, Holliman, Stickley, CCPT intervention in the schools to yield and Carter (2015) examined the effects of positive results, and further suggests that CCPT on normal functioning children and this positive effect can increase gradually found the CCPT was effective in with the continued use of this intervention increasing academic achievement scores (Blanco et al., 2012). with this population. This study deduced that CCPT is an effective intervention for

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school counselors to provide to children as with a wide range of applicability, and is a way of providing academic support as an important intervention to be well as emotional support to help a wide implemented in the schools to fight the range of students in a school setting, not mental health crisis occurring across the only those considered at-risk, but normally U.S. (Blanco & Ray, 2011; Schottelkorb, functioning children as well (Blanco et al., Swan, Jahn, Haas & Hacker, 2015; Swan 2015). A follow-up study by Blanco, & Ray, 2014). Holliman, Muro, Toland, and Farnam (2017) investigated the long-term Preventative Measures of Play Therapy effectiveness of CCPT on academic achievement with normal functioning first CCPT can also be implemented as grade students, and found that normal a preventative measure for normal functioning children who participated in functioning children. Moustakas (1953) 26 sessions of CCPT demonstrated stated that when play therapy is used in improved performance on an overall this manner, normal functioning children achievement composite, and improved “use it as a way of growing in their own continuously throughout treatment. This self-acceptance and respect and also as a study concluded that continued play way of looking at attitudes that might not therapy has an effect on normally be easily explored in school or at home” functioning children, thus making CCPT (p. 21). Perryman (2016) asserted that the appear to be an important intervention that earlier CCPT is implemented in children’s can be applied across the academic lives the less likely they are to feel the continuum as an in-school intervention impact of adverse choices made in the (Blanco et al. 2017). future. She also stated that prior research “clearly indicates early intervention plays Other studies examining the effects an important role in how children perceive of play therapy on the improvement of themselves and their future success as social skills in children, have found play students, community members, to assist children in development members, and human beings” (Perryman, of many social skills such as: decision- 2016, p. 487). making, language, intellectual growth, and problem-solving skills (Kafaki, Additionally, Blanco et al. (2017) Hassanzandeh, & Jadidi, 2013). This study suggested due to play therapy’s success in also described play therapy as a alleviating disrupted behaviors in normal developmentally appropriate medium for functioning children, “CCPT is children to develop relationships with encouraged as a preventative approach for adults, facilitate critical thinking skills, not only maladjusted and disorderly and process life experiences that assist children, but for healthy functioning with the learning of appropriate social children as well” (p. 1916). It appears that skills (Kafaki et al., 2013). Play therapy, providing a safe, welcoming, supportive CCPT specifically, is an intervention that environment in the school setting is has been shown to have positive and something that can benefit most children. statistically significantly effects across Perryman (2016) furthermore suggested diverse populations, problems, social the incorporation of a play therapy skills, and the academic continuum. It has program within the school setting can shown to be effective in the school setting benefit most children in the school system,

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with the intention of fostering academic Method and emotional growth. Participants Purpose of Study In this investigation, 50 student There exists a strong precedence in participants within three elementary the literature for a link between academic schools in the southwestern United States achievement and emotional health were included. All three elementary (Romasz, Kantor, & Elias, 2004; De Lugt, schools were classified as Title 1 schools 2007; Guay, Marsh, and Boivin 2003; which were selected for school-wide Hemlke & van Aken, 1997; Marsh and assistance by the state due to the Yeung 1997; Skaalvik, & Hagtvet, 1990). percentage of students qualifying for free In light of this link which is well or reduced lunch. School 1 recorded established in the professional literature, 49.6% of its students as economically there is a necessity to provide school based underprivileged, School 2 listed 46.3% of interventions that target emotional health its students as economically in order to improve academic outcomes. underprivileged, and School 3 listed 40.4% of its students as economically underprivileged. The school counselors The purpose of the current study provided written informed consent was to examine the impact of CCPT on the documents to all parents or guardians of academic achievement of normal second grade students within the chosen functioning 2nd grade students as measured classrooms. These classrooms were by the Woodcock Johnson III ACH. While decided upon by their identification as a past studies involving CCPT and academic mainstream classroom and the individual achievement have focused on younger instructor’s inclination to having students children (Blanco & Ray, 2011; Blanco, abstracted for services. Due to the Ray, & Holliman, 2012), this study linguistic impediments of the assessment focuses on second graders to expand the instruments utilized, bilingual classrooms exploration of CCPT and academics to were not chosen for the study. Rather than children in the middle years of elementary determining students who may be at-risk school. This study also focuses on for success within the school, all students normally achieving children. The decision in the chosen school rooms were able to to include normally achieving children participate in the study as the researchers was based upon the theoretical importance recruited a sample of average students. of play for all children, not just those who The student’s enrollment in the 2nd grade are academically at-risk. Moustakas was the only criteria for inclusion in the states, “… Play therapy is a type of study. Screening procedures were not preventative program of mental hygiene used at this point in the study, and written for normal children” (1953, p.21). The informed consents for 50 students were research question for the current study: obtained in accordance with the What is the impact of CCPT treatment on procedures of the local institutional review normally achieving second graders in board. regard to academic achievement? Children were randomly assigned into one of two treatment groups based upon the amount of participants per school. There were 23 student participants 5 Blanco, et al. ______

in School 1, 19 children were served in The WJIII ACH is a well- School 2, and 8 children were served in established instrument with adequate School 3. The final participant amount of psychometric properties.. Many 50 students represented 27 students investigations have secure reliability designated to CCPT treatment group and through the usage of test-retest, internal 23 students designated to the wait-list consistency, and inter-rater reliability. control (WC) group. In total, 25 boys and Internal cohesion authenticity estimations, 25 girls participated in the study. In such as the point to which the items regards to the boys, 11 were designated to correspond to one another for the Brief the play treatment (PT) group and 14 were Achievement Cluster varied from .97-.96 designated to the WC group. In regards to for school aged children (McGrew, the girls, 16 were designated to the PT Schrank, & Woodcock, 2007). The WJIII group and 9 were designated to the WC ACH was selected for this investigation group. Throughout the investigation, all due to its high psychometric standards and participants were within the ages of seven wide range for ages appropriate to be and eight years old. Ethnicity analysis administered the instrument. were as follows: (a) nine were African American (six PT group, three WC group), Procedures (b) one was Asian American (one PT group, zero WC group), (c) 32 were All participants were administered Caucasian (17 PT group, 15 WC group), the WJIII ACH when informed consent and (d) six were Hispanic (three PT group, was received. Masters level graduate three WC group), (e) two did not specify students who were trained in assessment ethnicity (zero PT group, two WC group). administered the instrument to participants before they were assigned to one of the Instrument two treatment groups. The masters level instrument administrators had previously Woodcock Johnson III Total Brief completed a graduate level course in Achievement (WJIII ACH; Mather & psychometrics, as well as being provided Woocock, 2001). WJIII ACH is an four hours of supplementary preparation instrument battery that measures the reviewing the administration of academic achievement capabilities of instruments used in the study. Participants individuals ages 2-99+. The WJIII ACH were then randomly assigned to one of the appraisal contributes material regarding an two treatment groups which consisted of assortment of academic subjects, gathering eight weeks of no intervention or eight cluster scores in academic areas of weeks of play therapy throughout the fall reading, oral language, written expression, semester. At the end of eight weeks, each and mathematics (Mather & Woodcock, participant was administered the WJIII 2001). For this examination, the Brief ACH as a post measure. Achievement cluster assessments were used to generate a brief achievement score PT group. Within the PT group, obtained by the administration of three twenty-seven students were designated to subtests taking approximately 10-15 16 sessions of CCPT scheduled over a minutes per test: (a) Letter-Word period of eight weeks. Students who Identification, (b) Spelling, and (c) received play therapy engaged in two 30- Applied Problems. minute sessions each week for a span of

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eight weeks using on-site and equipped each play therapy session, periodic audits school classroom playrooms. Each play were conducted by the research team using therapy session was provided in the PTSC. Student therapists were accordance to a CCPT treatment manual required to adhere to CCPT principle (Ray, 2009) and were facilitated by standards in 93% of play therapy sessions, masters-level counseling students trained thus therapists who diverged from these in play therapy. The student therapists principles were guided in supervision to who facilitated sessions incorporated both adhere more stringently to CCPT. The nonverbal and verbal skills as outlined by results of these audits indicated that the Ray (2009): (a) maintaining a leaning student therapists adhered to the principles forward, open stance; sustaining a forward of CCPT throughout the duration of the leaning, open stance; (b) appearing to be study. interested; enact interest; (c) remaining comfortable; (d) having a matching tone WC group. The WC group in with the child’s affect; (e) having which participants received no treatment appropriate affect in responses; (f) using intervention throughout the duration of the frequent interactive responses; (g) using study consisted of twenty-three children. behavior-tracking responses; (h) Every WC group student was placed in responding to verbalizations with CCPT following post-administration of paraphrases; (i) reflecting the child’s instruments. emotions; (j) facilitating empowerment through returning responsibility; (k) Data Analysis encouraging creativity; (l) using self- esteem-boosting statements;; and (m) Following the completion of providing relational responses. Every play treatment, the researchers scored the pret- therapist had previously completed or test and post-test data using procedures were concurrently enrolled in a play outlined in the WJ-III Manual. The data therapy graduate course. Prior to from protocols were then entered in the treatment, each play therapist additionally WJ-III ACH-Brief scoring software to attended training sessions specific to generate individual test scores and brief school-based play therapy. In addition to achievement scores. To measure impacts training sessions, each play therapist of CCPT on academic achievement, a received weekly one-hour play therapy mixed between-within subjects’ analysis supervision throughout the duration of the of variance was conducted on each of the investigation in order to confirm each dependent variables, including the three therapist was following CCPT protocol. individual tests of the WJ-III ACH Brief During each supervision time, the play and the Brief Achievement score. For the therapists, with their respective purposes of hypothesis testing, an alpha of supervisors present, were required to audit .05 was used a criterion for establishing their video recorded play therapy sessions; the results as statistically significant. every play therapist supervisor ensured Effect sizes were measured by the Cohen’s

that the play therapists were acting in D statistic and interpreted by Cohen’s accordance to CCPT protocol through the guidelines (1988) as small (.20), medium implementation of the Play Therapy Skills (.50) and large (.80). Checklist (PTSC; Ray, 2009). To ensure CCPT procedures were used throughout

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Results p=.027, Cohen’s d=.36. The main effect for time yielded statistically insignificant The results of the mixed between- results, Wilks Lambda=.966, within subjects analysis of variance on the F(1,48)=1.693, p=.199. The main effect WJIII- Brief Achievement score indicated for group yielded statistically insignificant a statistically interact effect between results, F(1,48)=1.137, p=.292. Thus it treatment group and time, Wilks Lambda appears that the experimental group = .920, F(1,48)=4.188, p=.046, Cohen’s d demonstrated a statistically significant = .21. The main effect for time yielded difference with a small effect size as statistically insignificant results, Wilks demonstrated by a Cohen’s d of .36. Lambda=.972, F(1,48)=1.391, p=.244. The main effect for treatment group did The results of the mixed between- not yield statistically significant results within subjects analysis of variance on the F(1,48)=.804, p=.374. Overall, the results WJ-III Applied Problems test indicated of this analysis indicated that those statistically insignificant interaction results subjects participating in CCPT Wilks Lambda=.998, F(1,48)=.084, demonstrated an increase in academic p=.773, Cohen’s d = -0.045. The main achievement scores with a small effect (as effect for time yielded statistically evidenced by the Cohen’s d of .21), while insignificant results, Wilks Lambda=.999, those in the wait-list control group F(1,48)=.069, p=.794. The main effect for received a slight decrease in scores over group yielded statistically insignificant time. results, F(1,48)=.378, p=.542. Thus the treatment group and experimental group The results of the mixed between- did not demonstrate statistically significant within subjects analysis of variance on the differences in their scores on the applied WJ-III Letter-Word Recognition Test problems subscale. indicated a statistically significant interaction effect, Wilks Lambda=.915, Discussion F(1,48)=4.468, p=.040, Cohen’s d =.20. The main effect for time yielded The research question of this study statistically insignificant results, Wilks sought to explore whether second grade Lambda= .986, F(1,48)=.683, p=.413. children who were typically achieving The main effect for group yielded would demonstrate improvement in statistically insignificant results academic achievement if provided CCPT. F(1,48)=.664, p=.419. Overall, the results The results of the present study indicate indicated that the treatment group that children who are identified as “normal experienced an improvement in Letter- functioning” in regard to their academic Word Recognition scores over time with a achievement and participate in child- small effect size (as evidenced by a centered play therapy sessions Cohen’s d of .20), while the control group demonstrate growth in their academic appeared to be relatively stable over time. achievement when compared to their peers who did not participate in CCPT. The results of the mixed between- Specifically, our data indicated that within subjects analysis of variance on the children who participated in play therapy WJ-III Spelling test indicated a demonstrated gains in academic statistically significant interaction effect, achievement, as measured by the WJ-III Wilks Lambda = .902, F(1,48)=5.192, ACH, on a general measure of

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achievement as well as on tests related to outcome of improved academic Letter-Word Identification and Spelling. achievement. In 1997, Landreth and Sweeney outlined several important goals Historically, play therapy as a in CCPT including: the development of mental health intervention has been positive self-concept, greater self- focused on emotional and behavioral responsibility, more self-direction, greater problems (Ray, Schottelkorb, & Tsai, self-acceptance, more self-reliance, self- 2007; Paone & Douma, 2009; Ray, determined decision making, greater Blanco, Sullivan, & Holliman, 2009; feelings of control, sensitivity to the Stulmaker & Ray, 2015). However, process of coping, an internal source of modern play therapy literature has evaluation, and a greater sense of trusting explored academic achievement only self. While none of these goals is directly minimally, despite the fact that the average related to academic achievement, there are child in spends an several theoretical links between these inordinate amount of their day attending goals and improved academics. Bills school. This study adds to a growing body (1950) and Winn (1959) both engaged in of work that indicates that play therapy research which suggested that changes in may be a practical intervention for self-perception and self-concept were improving academic achievement. correlated to positive change in reading. Furthermore, there have been studies which indicated that play therapy may be In any research endeavor, an important not only as an intervention, but important implication is how results may also as a preventative measure. Most impact practice. The results of this notably, Post (1999) conducted a study particular study have several practical with elementary school children that implications. First, it suggests that play demonstrated that while at times play therapists may begin to reconsider therapy didn’t improve children’s measure potential clients for play therapy. As on self-esteem, it did prevent drops in self- previously discussed, play therapy has of esteem which were noticed in other late focused its importance as an children. In the same way, some children intervention for mental health issues (Ray, in the waitlist control group demonstrated Schottelkorb, & Tsai, 2007; Paone & modest declines in their academic Douma, 2009; Ray, Blanco, Sullivan, & performance, whereas all children who Holliman, 2009; Stulmaker & Ray, 2015). received play therapy showed either This seems to be somewhat the effect of a growth or no change on academic medical model perspective which has achievement. pervaded mental health disciplines as a whole. However, in recent years the An important theoretical wellness perspective has been an implication for the field of play therapy increasingly emphasized in certain mental and the academic success of students is health circles (Myers, 2003; Roscoe, 2009; that the outcome of improved academic Myers & Sweeney, 2009). Thus, this achievement may be a theoretical match research may indicate that play therapy not with the intended goals of child centered only serves as an intervention, but also as play therapy. While CCPT doesn’t have prevention. So in the future play therapists treatment objectives as we might find in may provide services not only for children other forms of play therapy, there are who are struggling in academics, but to goals which seem to correlate with the children who are normally achieving to

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serve as a protective and preventive health services across the world (Kazdin & measure. Rabbit, 2013), and incorporating school- based play therapy is one of many novel Play therapy as an intervention for methods to address this shortage. academic achievement also seems to indicate that some skills improve from Limitations and Directions for Further exposure to play therapy in the short-term, Research while some skills tend to improve over the long-term. Specifically in this study there In considering the results of a was growth in general academic study, one must consider the limitations of achievement as well as in Spelling and the study. There is no such thing as a Letter-Word Identification, two subtests flawless study, and as such imperfections which the WJ III ACH associates with must be considered carefully when academic ability of general knowledge and understanding the study and its writing. The applied skills (arithmetic implications for both clinical practice and application) test in this particular study did future clinical research. One such not show significant improvement in the limitation of the current study is that the short-term. This result is consistent with participants represent a limited segment of the finding of past studies. Past studies the population. The participants were conducted tended to indicate that some limited by age and geography, as they skills such as mathematics, reading, and were all 2nd grade students in school spoken language grow over the long-term, districts in the southwestern United States. while skills such as general information, To improve generalizability of the study, comprehension of knowledge, and writing future research projects should increase tend to expand over the short-term (Blanco both the sample size and diversity of the & Ray, 2011; Blanco, Ray, & Holliman, sample to include a wide range of students 2012; Blanco et al., 2015). Thus play to improve generalizability. therapists may expect different response rates based on length of treatment. Another limitation to consider in interpreting the results of this study are the Another important implication of use of a wait-list control group. While the the results is the impact of a school-based experimental group did show many results play therapy program. Many intervention which were superior to non-treatment, the studies focus on the provision of services question remains if CCPT would prove to for children being provided in a clinical be superior to an active control, such as setting. However, this study focused on another mode of psychotherapeutic embedding play therapy services in the treatment. A direction for future research school, to determine the effectiveness of might include an active control group such school-based play therapy services. Play as peer mentoring or another activity seems to be a disappearing element in which provided one-on-one attention for elementary schools with a trend towards the participant. Alternatively, future reduction of play to focus on instructional studies might also compare CCPT to endeavors (Murray et al., 2013). another form of play therapy or child However, the incorporation of play into a . therapeutic program provides much needed counseling for students in schools. There is overall a shortage of mental

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Conclusion Blanco, P. J., Muro, J. H., Holliman, R., Stickley, V. K., & Carter, K. Ultimately, the result of this study (2015). Effect of child-centered suggests that CCPT is a method that can play therapy on performance be utilized by mental health professionals and academic achievement. in schools to impact academic Journal of Child & Adolescent achievement. While play therapy has Counseling, 1(2), 66-80. historically been relegated to emotional and behavioral problems, this study Blanco, P. J., & Ray, D. C. (2011). Play advances the idea that CCPT is helpful in therapy in elementary schools: A addressing academic concerns and bears best practice for improving consideration by the as academic achievement. Journal of an intervention to impact academics. This Counseling & Development, 89, study provides continuing evidence for the 235-243. school counselor to implement therapeutic Blanco, P. J., Ray, D. C., & Holliman, R. interventions for academic concerns and (2012). Long-term child centered links between the emotional and academic play therapy and academic health of children. achievement of children: A follow- up study. International Journal Of References Play Therapy, 21(1), 1-13. doi:10.1037/a0026932 Allen, K. B., & Barber, C. R. (2015). Examining the use of play Blanco, P. J., & Sheely-Moore, A. I. activities to increase appropriate (2012). Gift giving and receiving classroom behaviors. International in child‐centered play therapy: An Journal of Play Therapy, 24(1), 1- ethical response. The Journal of 12. Humanistic Counseling, 51(1), 66– 77. Authors. (under review). Exploring the impact of child-centered play Bratton, S. (2010). Meeting the early therapy on academic achievement mental health needs of children of at-risk kindergarten students. through school-based play therapy: Manuscript submitted for A review of outcome research. In publication. A. A. Drewes & C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), School- based play therapy Axline, V. (1947). Play therapy. Boston, (2nd ed., pp. 17–59). Hoboken, NJ: MA: Houghton Mifflin. Wiley. Blanco, P., Holliman, Muro, J., Toland, S. Bratton, S. C., Ray, D. C., Edwards, N. A., & Farnam, J. (2017). Long term & Landreth, G. (2009). Child- child-centered play therapy effects Centered Play Therapy (CCPT): on academic achievement with Theory, Research, and normal functioning children. Practice. Person-Centered & Journal of Child and Family Experiential , 8(4), Studies 26(7) p.1915-1922. 266-281

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Table 1.

Pre and post-test means of the WJIII Total Brief Achievement.

PT Group (N=27) WC Group (N=23)

Pre-test Post-test Pre-test Post-test

Letter Word Identification (subtest)

M 105.33 107.52 110.26 109.30

SD 15.00 15.11 15.89 12.68

Spelling (subtest)

M 95.63 100.41 103.53 102.22

SD 17.43 17.20 16.44 15.47

Applied Problems (subtest)

M 102.26 102.22 104.61 105.35

SD 16.36 17.63 17.93 12.93

Woodcock Johnson III (ACH) Total

M 101.89 104.96 108.26 107.43

SD 18.36 18.65 18.58 14.58