Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 365–375 | Cite as

Child-Centered Play Therapy for Youths Who Have Experienced Trauma: a Systematic Literature Review

  • Jaxon J. Humble
  • Nathan L. Summers
  • Victor VillarrealEmail author
  • Kara M. Styck
  • Jeremy R. Sullivan
  • Joseph M. Hechler
  • Blaire S. Warren


This systematic review examines the literature on the effectiveness of child-centered play therapy (CCPT) for youths who have experienced traumatic events. Two independent reviewers conducted the search procedures, as well as all data extraction and coding. Seven peer-reviewed articles reporting treatment outcomes were included in the review. As the focus of the review was on CCPT, treatment methods were similar across the seven articles (e.g., use of similar materials). There was also some consistency in findings regarding outcomes related to internalizing problems, self-concept, and self-competence. However, there was significant variability in the outcome measures used to evaluate effects, as well as limitations regarding the study methods that impact the overall conclusions regarding the use of CCPT to treat children that have experienced traumatic events. Treatment recommendations and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Play therapy Child-centered play therapy CCPT Trauma Child Adolescent 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study did not involve human participants.

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


Articles with * indicate those that were included in the review.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaxon J. Humble
    • 1
  • Nathan L. Summers
    • 1
  • Victor Villarreal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kara M. Styck
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeremy R. Sullivan
    • 1
  • Joseph M. Hechler
    • 1
  • Blaire S. Warren
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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