CCPT is a developmentally responsive, play-based mental health intervention for young children ages 3 to 10 who are experiencing social, emotional, behavioral and relational disorders. CCPT utilizes play, the natural language of children, and therapeutic relationship to provide a safe, consistent therapeutic environment in which a child can experience full acceptance, empathy, and understanding from the counselor and process inner experiences and feelings through play and symbols. In CCPT, a child’s experience within the counseling relationship is the factor that is most healing and meaningful in creating lasting, positive change. Based on person-centered principles, the overarching goal of CCPT is to unleash the child’s potential to move toward integration and self-enhancing ways of being. Child outcomes following CCPT include decreased symptomatic behaviors and improvement in overall functioning.

Treatment Manual and Resources


Landreth, G. L. (2012). Play therapy: The art of the relationship. Routledge.

Ray, D. (2011). Advanced play therapy: Essential conditions, knowledge, and skills for child practice. Taylor & Francis. ***

     *** CCPT Treatment Manual available in appendix. 

Ray, D. C., Purswell, K., Haas, S., & Aldrete, C. (2017). Child-centered play therapy-research integrity checklist: Development, reliability, and use. International Journal of Play Therapy, 26(4), 207.

Available Languages

The CCPT manual is available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Turkish.

Child-Centered Play Therapy is designated as a promising evidence-based mental health intervention by the Results First Clearinghouse (NREPP) and the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC).

Randomized Controlled Trials and Quasi-experimental Studies

(Mental Health Focus)

Blalock, S. M., Lindo, N., & Ray, D. C. (2019). Individual and group child‐centered play therapy: Impact on social‐emotional competencies. Journal of Counseling & Development, 97(3), 238–249.

Bratton, S. C., Ceballos, P.L., Sheely-Moore, A.I., Meany-Walen, K., Pronchenko, Y. & Jones, L.D. (2013). Head start early mental health intervention: Effects of child-centered play therapy on disruptive behaviors. International Journal of Play Therapy 22(1): 28–42.

Cochran, J. L., & Cochran, N. H. (2017). Effects of child-centered play therapy for students with highly-disruptive behavior in high-poverty schools. International Journal of Play Therapy, 26(2), 59–72.

Garza, Y., & Bratton, S. C. (2005). School-Based Child-Centered Play Therapy with Hispanic Children: Outcomes and Cultural Consideration. International Journal of Play Therapy, 14(1), 51–80.

Kot, S., Landreth, G. L., & Giordano, M. (1998). Intensive child-centered play therapy with child witnesses of domestic violence. International Journal of Play Therapy, 7(2), 17–36.

Post, P. (1999). Impact of child-centered play therapy on the self-esteem, locus of control, and anxiety of at-risk 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students. International Journal of Play Therapy, 8(2), 1–18.

Ray, D. C., Blanco, P. J., Sullivan, J. M., & Holliman, R. (2009). An exploratory study of child-centered play therapy with aggressive children. International Journal of Play Therapy, 18(3), 162–175.

Ray, D. C., Schottelkorb, A., & Tsai, M.-H. (2007). Play therapy with children exhibiting symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. International Journal of Play Therapy, 16(2), 95–111.

Ray, D. C., Stulmaker, H. L., Lee, K. R., & Silverman, W. K. (2013). Child-centered play therapy and impairment: Exploring relationships and constructs. International Journal of Play Therapy, 22(1), 13–27.

Ritzi, R. M., Ray, D. C., & Schumann, B. R. (2017). Intensive short-term child-centered play therapy and externalizing behaviors in children. International Journal of Play Therapy, 26(1), 33–46.

Schottelkorb, A. A., Swan, K. L., & Ogawa, Y. (2020). Intensive child‐centered play therapy for children on the autism spectrum: A pilot study. Journal of Counseling & Development, 98(1), 63–73.

Stulmaker, H. L., & Ray, D. C. (2015). Child-centered play therapy with young children who are anxious: A controlled trial. Children and Youth Services Review, 57, 127–133.

Wilson, B., & Ray, D. (2018). Child‐centered play therapy: Aggression, empathy, and self‐regulation. Journal of Counseling & Development, 96(4): 399–409.


Download the Child-Centered Play Therapy: An Evidence-Based Intervention quick facts flyer here.