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How To Track Progress in Child Therapy

Play therapy is a great intervention for many children for many reasons. However, one of the difficulties in play therapy is how to recognize progress within the therapeutic space. There are a few ways to note progress and one of them is by noting pro-social’s that occur in the the playroom, which is the topic of today’s post!

So, what exactly does pro-social mean?

Pro-socials are simply positive social skills or behaviors. These include but are definitely not limited to:

  • Making eye contact
  • Exhibiting more open body language
  • Verbalizing during play
  • Picking up toys
  • Using an increased amount of feeling words
  • Respecting limits and boundaries
  • Asking the therapist for help
  • Not asking the therapist for help
  • Including the therapist in the play
  • Exhibiting manners

Pro-socials are definitely dependent on the individual child. For example, say that I am working with a child that is diagnosed with Selective Mutism. Verbalizing during their play would be a HUGE pro-social, especially if they progressed from a lack of verbalization to chatting during therapy! On the other hand, if I’m working with a child that exhibits disruptive behavior in the beginning of therapy, a sign of progress would be the child being able to respect limits and boundaries. It’s important for the therapist to be mindful of the progression of pro-socials for each individual child.

I always make sure to note pro-socials in each play therapy session. It helps to not only note progress that the child has made but strengths that they come into therapy with as well! Below I included a list of all pro-socials that I keep in my office to refresh my mind whenever I write a note.

List of Play Therapy Pro-Socials

Let me know if there are any additional pro-socials that you use in play therapy!
Play on!

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