Occupational therapists may embark on play therapy as part of an intervention package in child psychiatry. This article examines the effectiveness of play therapy with children who have experienced emotional deprivation. Even though emotional deprivation is seldom the primary reason for referral, it may underpin the behavioural difficulties with which the children present. One important aspect of emotional deprivation appears to be the disruption of early close relationships and, traditionally, the damage caused by this has been considered irreversible. Consequently, the possibility of children deriving benefit from play therapy and the lack of clarity about emotional deprivation are examined.\ud \ud Research that sheds light on this discussion is considered and, finally, the ways in which occupational therapists might contribute to this body of research are suggested
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