Alumni and current students contribute to international text on play therapy

A Senior Lecturer working at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences has had her fourth book published, with a little help from some of her former students.

Justine Howard, who is the programme manager for the MA in Developmental and Therapeutic Play and the MA in Childhood Studies, has co-edited Play Therapy Today, Contemporary Practice with Individuals, Groups and Carers alongside Eileen Prendiville, a fellow academic specialising in the field of play therapy training.

The book brings together the work of renowned practitioners and academics currently working and researching in therapeutic play and play therapy, and presents a range of ground-breaking methods for practising with groups, individuals, and parents and carers.

It also includes chapters from Maggie Fearn, Lisa Morgan and Trish Gettings, who are all students or alumni of the MA Developmental and Therapeutic Play programme at the College of Human and Health Sciences.

Maggie Fearn, who’s chapter is entitled “Working therapeutically with groups in the outdoors”, has been a play practitioner for 30 years and a Forest School practitioner since 2001. She facilitates play sessions with children and young people of all ages and abilities in Wales, and she trains adults in non-directive play skills. She is also a graduate teacher of Body & Earth, experiential anatomy, somatics and authentic movement.  In 2009 she completed an MA with distinction in Developmental and Therapeutic Play.  Her research looked at nonverbal communication behaviour between mothers and children under 3yrs during outdoor play. She is in demand as a speaker about the therapeutic value of outdoor play, and the importance of attending to children’s perspectives.  In 2011 she co-founded Movement Sense, a community interest company established to manage and develop places, spaces and experiences for individuals, groups and communities to access and engage with the natural environment for wellbeing, learning and creative expression through the moving body.

Lisa Morgan, who is currently completing the dissertation element of her MA in Developmental and Therapeutic Play, originally qualified as a nursery nurse and for a number of years worked alongside children aged 4-7 years in a primary school environment.  Her chapter, “Using play therapeutically with children in a hospital setting” draws on her extensive experience as for the past 17 years she has worked as a nursery nurse and play specialist on a busy paediatric surgical ward at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.  Her role involves utilising a variety of therapeutic play techniques in pre and post-operative care in particular; distraction techniques, puppets, storytelling and guided imagery. She has lectured about the therapeutic value of play in hospital settings at postgraduate level.

While completing her MA in Developmental and Therapeutic Play at the College of Human and Health Sciences, Trish Gettins focused her thesis on interventions to support the emotional health of children affected by domestic violence and this formed the basis for her chapter in the book, “Therapeutic play as an intervention for children exposed to domestic violence.”  Her research was well received and initiated a successful career working for Womens Aid in Wales. Trish helped to develop a dedicated children and young peoples project and has presented at the International Play Association Conference. Trish is about to embark on a new adventure as a play specialist to help develop a new project in Qatar within a women and children's hospital.