Virginia M. Axline’s eight core principles of non-directive, child-centered play therapy
- The therapist must develop a warm, friendly relationship with the child, in which good rapport is established as soon as possible.
- The therapist accepts the child exactly as he is.
- The therapist establishes a feeling of permissiveness in the relationship so that the child feels free to express his feelings completely.
- The therapist is alert to recognize the feelings the child is expressing and reflects those feelings back to him in such a manner that he gains insight into his behavior.
- The therapist maintains a deep respect for the child’s ability to solve his own problems if given an opportunity to do so. The responsibility to make choices and to institute change is the child’s.
- The therapist does not attempt to direct the child’s actions or conversation in any manner. The child leads the way; the therapist follows.
- The therapist does not attempt to hurry the therapy along. It is a gradual process and is recognized as such by the therapist.
- The therapist establishes only those limitations that are necessary to anchor the therapy to the world of reality and to make the child aware of his responsibility in the relationship.