Meta-analysis of single-case evaluations of child-centered play therapy for treating mental health symptoms.

As the demand for childhood mental health intervention rises, there is a need for increased evidentiary support for developmentally sensitive approaches that address childhood mental health symptoms. Child-centered play therapy (CCPT) has been recognized as one of the most frequently used approaches for this population due to its responsiveness to cognitive and psychosocial developmental levels. A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the degree of effectiveness of CCPT for decreasing common childhood mental health symptoms based on single-case research design (SCRD) data. The systematic search strategy yielded 11 CCPT SCRD studies with 65 total effect sizes that were analyzed to determine omnibus treatment effect. Results indicated CCPT had a moderate effect for decreasing internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and social skill deficits. This study adds to the evidence base for CCPT incorporating SCRD data into the corpus of CCPT meta-analytic data and provides further support that CCPT should be considered an appropriate intervention to address common childhood mental health symptoms. Based on these results, the authors provide implications for CCPT practitioners and for future directions to build the intervention’s evidence base. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)