Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Ande Nesmith


Social Work


The focus of this systematic literature review was to assess the effectiveness of play therapy used in treatment of children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder (RAD). Children diagnosed with RAD experience long-­‐term implications including inability to regulate emotions, difficulty building and maintaining relationships, behavioral issues, anxiety and poor autonomy. Play therapy is a therapeutic approach that eliminates barriers between the child and therapist. This review examined fourteen articles. The articles were found using inclusion criteria of including treatment of RAD, use of play therapy with RAD, published between 2000 and 2015 and used research with children age 0-­‐18 years old. All articles were reviewed and articles that did not meet inclusion criteria were discarded. The full texts were reviewed and four themes were determined for effective treatment of RAD. These themes included strong family component, structured treatment, child-­‐led treatment and a stable environment. These aspects of treatment proved to be effective in reducing symptoms of RAD.

Included in

Social Work Commons