Play Therapy and Academic Achievement


A problem in school systems today is the prevalence of mental health related concerns including depression and anxiety beginning at young ages such as in elementary school (Brennan, 2022). This is especially concerning in the school system because of the reflection then on academic achievement and future success further on down the line. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are being dealt with in a number of ways within schools with the help of school psychologists, social workers, school counselors and more (Brennan, 2022). One of the most heavily researched ways of counseling children is through play therapy, which in turn has been shown to increase academic achievement and success in other areas (Kool & Lawver, 2010). Most times, students engaging in play therapy with school counselors respond well and typically progress over time doing so. Play therapy can include the use of fidgets, dolls, puppets, board games, card games, toy cars and more to encourage children to feel comfortable enough to open up and speak on their feelings (Kool & Lawver, 2010). Playing with toys while approaching children can make them feel understood and help them to relax to feel more able to talk about difficult subjects (Kool & Lawver, 2010). Following will be an in depth look at some research behind play therapy and it’s benefits to children in a school setting regarding their eventual academic achievement.

Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2022

Document Type

Capstone Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Counselor Education - Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Calhoun