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Expressive Play Therapy®


Expressive Play Therapy®

A Holistic and Integrative Approach

Marie José Dhaese developed Expressive Play Therapy® to help severely traumatized and abused children and adolescents. This approach has continued to evolve over the years and has proven helpful to people of all ages who are struggling with a variety of challenges.

Expressive Play Therapy® is a holistic and integrative approach that addresses the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual needs of the client. It is based on the view that human beings hold within themselves an innate kernel of wisdom and that all are born with the possibility and drive to grow into their potential.

White Poodle

Marie José pays particular attention to the nurturing sensory qualities of the healing environment. Each session is tailored to the individual’s needs and incorporates a variety of expressive therapies, which can include:

  • Verbal counselling
  • Imagery and visualization
  • Art therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Sand play therapy
  • Storytelling
  • Writing
  • Music
  • Movement
  • Photography
  • Sewing, knitting and felting

These methods are accompanied by the beauty and healing power of nature that surrounds the playroom as well as Marie José’s co-therapists, her standard poodles, when appropriate.

Marie José focuses initially on helping clients connect to their own inner strengths and resources before engaging in a deeper exploration of the issues that bring them to therapy. Therapeutic methods are carefully chosen according the individual’s age, natural inclination and life circumstances. The result is an increase in confidence, strength, creativity and energy to meet life’s challenges.

Published Work

Holistic Expressive Play Therapy, An Integrative Approach to Helping Maltreated Children

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An interview with Marie José

by Lisa Dion, Founder of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute


I have witnessed that, despite all obstacles, the drive to form strong bonds of affection, to love and be loved, and for growth and healing, is as tenacious as the child who keeps on falling and getting up until she can walk. It is as powerful as the drive of the plant that grows through concrete to reach the sunlight and as compelling as the instinct of migrating birds to come home. It is my role, as a therapist, to facilitate the awakening and reconnection to this drive so that my clients will discover the power of their resiliency.


Questions about Expressive Play Therapy?

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