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Oxford Therapeutic Playwork (OTP) was developed by Oxfordshire Play Association alongside Gordon Sturrock, renowned Playwork Theorist. OTP offers children and young people a safe space to play out difficult issues they may be experiencing, and more importantly allows them to Play.  ‘Through play the child can re-negotiate material that is causing difficulty in life elsewhere. Much of this material has been, previously, hidden, and is expressed through symbol, and covert meaning. The bullied child, bullies, in turn, her dolls. The abused child plays out narratives of abuse on the surrounding containment of the playspace’. (Gordon Sturrock 2001)

The Therapeutic Playwork sessions are facilitated by Play specialists who offer a non-judgemental and empathetic approach to Play that centres around clear and consistent boundaries to enable children and young people to act out and express their emotions in a safe way.  OTP also supports children and young people faced with challenges, to increase their resilience, develop a positive sense of self and improve their self-confidence.

As leading Play specialists and through extensive research we recognise how social change and demographics have affected children’s play.  We have adopted Sturrock’s model of Therapeutic Playwork to create a high quality play space which offers children and young people opportunities to heal through self-directed Play.  This is enhanced by complex interventions and specific tools and resources used by the OTP specialist.

This model has already been successfully delivered to children in a local primary school with outstanding results.  With the prospect of future funding we hope to deliver OTP in three primary schools over a three year period, reaching a greater number of children and young people.

Brid Muldoon – OPA Training Manager