In the first part of the Forum on Play, in Volume 3,
Number 2, an overview of the functions of play was
provided by David Pellegrini and Peter Smith, and
the importance of play in the school playground was
emphasised by Peter Blatchford.
In this, the second part of our forum, Anne Alvarez and
Asha Phillips start us off with a masterly exposition of the
importance of play in a clinical therapeutic relationship.
They show how analytic thinking about play has developed,
and add in a wider understanding from developmental
psychology. They give vivid examples of
what can happen during therapeutic sessions, and propose
that if a secure relationship can be established, the child
will then be safe to explore alternative ways of feeling and
being, free of fear.
Allison James then brings us an anthropological perspective
on play. With examples, she develops the argument that children's
play is not merely a re-enactment
of adult values and rules. Rather, successful play with
other children is a finely tuned ‘act’ that requires sensitive
attunement in order to follow the niceties of the rules and
meanings that govern situations. These are complex and
differ according to the context the child is in, but are
specific to the child's own world and not merely generated
Finally, Peter Slade offers us a uniquely personal view of
how he has used play in drama therapy with children.
Reading it enables us to glimpse ways of thinking spanning
his 50 years of experience.
To give a practitioner's perspective, we invited Ann
Cattanach to comment on the first two reviews in the
forum and Margaret Hunter to comment on the three
reviews in this issue. However, if any of these reviews or
commentaries sparks off opinions, reminiscences, or
experiences, please write to the Editors, so they can be
shared with the readership.