Ethical Dilemmas in Play Therapy Supervision

By Karen Fairchild, LCSW

Family Support & Treatment Center

On Friday, February 5, 2016, I attended a Utah Association for Play Therapy (UAPT) training at Wasatch Mental Health, “Ethical Dilemmas in Play Therapy Supervision” presented by Clair Mellenthin.

Learning about ethical issues related to play therapy supervision turned out to be a more complex issue than I would have initially anticipated. My mind was opened to some issues I had not previously considered and I was reminded of issues that I needed to be more conscientious about.

We began with a brief overview of the codes of ethics for various mental health disciplines regarding play therapy supervision and the supervision requirements for play therapists. We then explored who we are as individuals related to being or becoming play therapy supervisors. We then got into specific ethical considerations such as a supervisory disclosure statement and contract; informed consent; common legal and ethical issues; vicarious liability; confidentiality; relationship issues; and transference and counter-transference. Clair then taught about ethical ways to use sand tray, group sculpting, and collage for growth and termination.

Ethical dilemmas could easily become a dry, dreary topic, but Clair kept us engaged throughout the day with group discussions and experiential activities. Who knew that I could sculpt better with my eyes closed while being mindful than I ever could with my eyes open?



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