Play Therapy Interventions

A Playful Way to Teach Assertive Communication in Child Therapy

Assertive communication is a frequent topic in child therapy. There are many children that therapists work with that are labeled as aggressive or passive communicators. The goal is to help kids become more assertive in their communication style in order to get their point across in an appropriate manner. This post will go over a fun and playful child therapy intervention to help children learn assertive communication through one of my favorite things ever: Miniatures!!

Here is what you will need for the intervention:


 By “miniatures,” I mean little characters or animals that are generally used for sandtray therapy. I find my miniatures to be an asset in my play therapy practice and used in almost every single play therapy session I have! I have worked very hard to create my miniature collection over the years and highly recommend going to a dollar store or local thrift store to obtain miniatures. I have also had success using the website

I like to start the intervention by explaining the different forms of communication to my client. I explain that aggressive communication can come across as rude and demanding. I compare aggressive communication to a bulldozer in that aggressive communicators tend to plow over others’ thoughts.


I then go into passive communication. I state that passive communicators tend to not let their opinions be known and can be “walked all over” by other communicators.


The last form of communication that I explain is assertive communication. I tell my kiddos that assertive communication is the “happy medium” between aggressive and passive communication. Assertive communication is when the communicator expresses their thoughts or feelings in an appropriate manner.


At this point, it can also be helpful for the client to reflect on their own form of communication.


Example of how to set up miniatures

Next, introduce the activity. State to the client that they will be picking out a miniature that reminds them of each form of communication. I generally have my miniatures all set up for this activity so that my clients can really compare and contrast the miniatures when making their decision.


Example of a miniature chosen for aggressive communication

First, have the client pick out a miniature to represent aggressive communication. Ask the client what made them pick out that miniature. Inquire what about the miniature reminded the client of aggressive communication.


Example of a miniature chosen to represent passive communication

Then, move on to passive communication. Explore the client’s reasoning for picking that particular miniature and what made them think of passive communication.


Example of a miniature chosen to represent assertive communication

Finally, have the client choose a miniature to represent assertive communication. Just like aggressive and passive communication, ask the client why they picked the miniature and what reminded them of assertive communication.


This intervention has been a hit for me in both individual and group therapy. I hope it helps you in teaching your kiddos about assertive communication!


Play On!



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