Solution-Focused Play Therapy. A Strengths-Based Clinical Approach to Play Therapy


Solution-Focused Play Therapy is an essential text that blends the process of play therapy with solution-focused therapy.

With a focus on child strengths and resources, this book identifies key concepts and principles in solution-focused play therapy (SFPT). The author provides neurobiological and developmental support for SFPT and guidance on how practitioners can transition from using a non-directive approach to a more directive and activity-based approach based on the developmental needs of the child. Chapters describe the 12 basic skills needed for employing this approach with children of all ages and their families. Harnessing a strengths-oriented approach, the author presents expressive ways to use key SFPT techniques, including the miracle question, scaling, finding exceptions, and end-of-session feedback.

Clinicians will come away from the book with a suite of interventions, strategies, handouts, and forms that can be employed with children of all ages and their families, from strength-based assessment and treatment planning to the final celebration session.


  • 1. The Restorative Powers of Play: Foundations of Play Therapy
  • 2. Building Solutions With Clients: Foundations of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
  • 3. How Did You Do That? Solution-Focused Play Therapy Key Concepts and Stages of Solution Building
  • 4. Growing with Solution-Focused Play Therapy: How Development Impacts the Play Therapy Process
  • 5. Solution-Focused Play Therapy Resources: Strength-Based Tools for the Playroom
  • 6. Setting Children up for Success: Caregive Consultations, First Sessions, and Treatment Planning
  • 7. Essential Skills in Solution-Focused Play Therapy: The 12 Basic Skills
  • 8. Cultivating Resiliency: Solution-Focused Play Therapy Techniques
  • 9. Let’s Play! Creative Interventions in Solution-Focused Play Therapy
  • 10. Creating Change in the Family System: Solution-Focused Family Play Therapy
  • 11. Searching for Solutions: Strength-Based Documentation and Progress Assessment
  • 12. Celebration Sessions: How to Terminate Solution-Focused Play Therapy Sessions Appendices

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Kjellstrand Hartwig, PhD, LPC-S, LMFT, RPT-S, is an associate professor at Texas State University. She is the founder and director of the Texas State University Animal- Assisted Counseling Academy and a past president of the Texas Association for Play Therapy.


“The field of play therapy will have made a giant leap thanks to Elizabeth Kjellstrand Hartwig! By contextualizing the basic components of play therapy in solution-focused theory and adapting the therapeutic process to it, she has developed innovative ways to help families and children build on existing strengths to regulate emotions and build self-esteem. This book is meticulously researched, well organized, and clearly written. It is a valuable resource for beginning play therapists, experienced therapists who want to broaden their perspective and skills, and educators.” — Eve Lipchik, LMFT, LCSW, author of Beyond Technique in Solution Focused Therapy.