Play’s importance in psychoanalytic theory and practice was recognised early and developed by many. The work of Donald Wininicott remains an important contribution in this domain.
“Psychotherapy takes place in the overlap of two areas of playing, that of the patients and that of the therapist. Psychotherapy has to do with people playing together. The corollary of this is that where playing is not possible then the work done by the therapist is directed towards bringing the patient from a state of not being able to play into a state of being able to play.”
Wininicott, D.W. (1971). Playing and Reality. London. Tavistock Publications.
The Conversational Model of Psychotherapy developed by Prof Russell Meares is a further extension of this work.
With its emphasis on micro-attunement and the prioritisation of affect in the relational matrix of every therapeutic exchange it addresses the subtleties and complexities of what makes for more effective play in every therapeutic encounter.