The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (BUP) of Sweden uses various methods to aid in the diagnosis or detection of psychiatric needs . One of the methods: the Erica method is developed from a psychotherapeutic play therapy "World Technique" that was established by Margaret Lowenfeld, in the1920’s . The Erica method has been under query for lacking scientific support . As BUP also uses various play therapies the question about the Erica method was expanded to include psychotherapies based on play therapy or world techniques.
We searched studies and systematic reviews to explore the scientific support for diagnosis or psychotherapy based on play therapy or world techniques. We did not find any scientific studies on the reliability of using methods based on play therapy to determine diagnosis. We found one systematic review  on play therapy interventions for a number of psychiatric conditions.
|Bratton, et al. (2005) |
|93 controlled outcome studies (published 1953–2000)||Children/Play therapies||Behavior
The overall meta-analytic results establish that play therapy is a statistically viable intervention. Further analysis revealed that humanistic approaches yielded higher outcomes than non¬humanistic treatments and that filial play therapy conducted by parents produced larger treatment effects than did play therapy conducted by a professional. Although we attempted to glean a clearer understanding of factors that contribute to the effectiveness of play therapy, our attempts were hindered by a lack of specificity in many of the studies. On the basis of data reported in individual studies, play therapy appeared equally effective across gender, age, and presenting issue.
A well-designed research methodology that can be replicated in multiple studies is needed to not only further investigate the overall efficacy of play therapy but also to examine a multitude of treatment factors and their impact on treatment outcome. Only then will play therapists be able to answer questions regarding the most efficient and effective delivery method of play therapy services to their child clients.
For further reading we also added a list of systematic reviews on play therapy for single conditions, or where play therapy is included [5–11].
SBU Enquiry Service consists of systematic literature searches to highlight studies that can address questions received by the SBU Enquiry Service from Swedish healthcare or social service providers. Relevant references are compiled by an SBU staff member, in consultation with an external expert when needed. The quality of the studies identified is not systematically reviewed.
|Registration no:||SBU 2018/740|
Alexandra Snellman, Sally Saad, Jessica Dagerhamn, Sara Fundell and Miriam Entesarian Matsson at SBU.