Outcome of play therapy among children exhibiting aggressive behaviors living in a residential shelter

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology Major in Clinical Psychology


College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Roseann Tan-Mansukhani


Play therapy has been used for many decades in the Philippines as an intervention for childrens emotional and behavioral problems (Carandang, 2010) but the widespread practice has not resulted in process and outcome research (Tarroja et al., 2013). This study aimed to describe the outcome of Axlinian play therapy on the aggressive behavior of children living in a residential shelter. Using a multiple case study design, four Filipino children three male and one female with ages 9-12 years, who exhibited verbal and physical aggression, underwent video-recorded twice weekly play therapy sessions for nine weeks. The aggression was measured by the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) parent behavior rating, comparison of pretherapy and posttherapy results of the CBCL aggression scores revealed a reduction of aggression scores from clinical range to normal range in three cases, and from clinical range to borderline clinical range in one case. This outcome was supported by interviews with house parents. Based on the coders observations of the video-recorded therapy sessions, the following themes of the of play therapy with aggressive children in a residential shelter emerged: creating a relationship of trust between child and therapist, child initiating and leading own play with an adult, expressing emotions freely, child regulating negative affect and behavior through therapists feedback in an emotionally safe environment. These findings are discussed in terms of regulation of emotion and behavior in childhood and the humanistic approach to therapeutic intervention with children. Findings from this study provide support for the efficacy of play therapy as intervention for aggressive children in a non-familial setting. Further, clinical practitioners working with children, who present aggressive behavior and related affect, will find the Axlinian approach to play therapy a viable option for intervention.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.

This document is currently not available here.