A Literature Review Concerning Effectiveness of Multicultural Play Based Interventions with Children


Sykes, H., Cornelius-White, J. & Maddox II, R. P.


Research has demonstrated that individual play therapy, group play therapy, and filial therapy are effective when working with children; however most research is focused on European American samples and worldviews. Children play out themes to express their worldview and may have distinctive themes in various cultures, but all children may struggle to feel acceptance and freedom to express themselves if they don’t identify with the helper, the toys, and/or techniques being usedin the intervention. This critical literature review examines the results of previous research on the effectiveness of play-based interventions in multicultural settings. Interventions with children of diverse backgrounds reviewed include: group play therapy, especially with African Americans; school based play therapy, especially with Latinos, and filial therapy, especially with Asian American samples. The paper also looks at the sparse research on the training of play therapists in multicultural issues. The results examined are generally positive, indicating that play-based interventions are an effective method of treatment with diverse children, but research is limited. There is a continued need for extensive research of multicultural play- based interventions with children.

Keywords: play therapy, multicultural, filial therapy .