Singapore University of Social Sciences

Play in Expressive Arts Therapy: Theory and Practice

Play in Expressive Arts Therapy: Theory and Practice (XAT505)

Applications Open: To be confirmed

Applications Close: To be confirmed

Next Available Intake: To be confirmed

Course Types: To be confirmed

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: To be confirmed

Area of Interest: Social Services

Schemes: To be confirmed

Funding: To be confirmed

School/Department: S R Nathan School of Human Development


Play is the foundation of creativity and in XAT505 Play in Expressive Arts Therapy: Theory and Practice, the theories and practice of play in learning and play in development will be explored. Students will be introduced to the developmental stages of play and how much pre-verbal processing underpins expressive arts therapy. They will explore the theories of object relations, the importance of messy play and working with all the sensory systems. From this theoretical base, they will look at play with different client groups, special needs, eldercare and early childhood in particular and appreciate that playfulness is of great importance for well-being. They will be encouraged to play and reflect on different approaches to play, as well as explore unconscious and cultural biases about play. Through practical explorations of traditional games, they will be encouraged to reflect on their own experiences of playfulness and how different play approaches can be used in their work context.

Level: 5
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July


  • Why we play
  • The role of play in child development
  • Object relations and Donald Winnicott
  • Attachment theory
  • Neuro-dramatic play and the neurobiology of play
  • Play stages and ages and Developmental Play Theory
  • Messy play and its importance
  • Sensory systems and play
  • Eco-play and the importance of nature in playful development
  • Making learning and development visible in play
  • Play with different client groups, special needs, eldercare and early childhood in particular
  • Cross-cultural play practice and traditional games

Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrate an in-depth appreciation of the importance of playfulness.
  • Assess the application of play in work settings and personal lives from different cultural standpoints.
  • Compare and contrast different theories of play in learning and development.
  • Select play-based approaches in their work.
  • Support playfulness in attitude and ideas.
  • Evaluate their own personal journeys through play in their childhood and during the programme.
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