Axlines Principles

These principles emphasise the importance of a practitioner being able to use a comprehensive range of play and expressive art therapy skills - a "Play Therapy Tool Kit" which will enable the therapist to follow the child's lead

The eight Axline Principles:

  1. Must develop a warm and friendly relationship with the child   (Warm and friendly: Good rapport)
  2. Accepts the child as she or he is.
  3. Establishes a feeling of permissiveness in the relationship so that the child feels free to express his or her feelings completely.
  4. Recognises the feelings the child is expressing and reflects these feelings back in such a manner that the child gains insight into his/her behavior
  5. Maintains deep respect for the child's ability to solve his/her problems and gives the child the opportunity to do so. The responsibility to make choices.
  6. Does not attempt to direct the child's actions or conversations in any manner. The child leads the way, the therapist follows.
  7. Does not hurry the therapy along. It is a gradual process and must be recognised as such by the therapist.
  8. Only establishes those limitations necessary to anchor the therapy to the world of reality and to make the child aware of his/her responsibility in the relationship.

* Axline was influenced by the person centered approach of Carl Rogers. She is recognised as the originator of non directive Play Therapy.