Play, as therapy and in therapy, has been established in the research literature as an effective method of intervention with children and youth. It has often been identified as the language of childhood and an appropriate medium for communicating with, and understanding, the world of the child. There is no one definition of play, but there is agreement among multiple disciplines that play is easily recognizable, complex, multi-faceted, and essential to healthy child development. Empirically based research involving both directive and non-directive play has demonstrated the healing power of play within the therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic alliance is considered by many mental health professionals to be the key element in facilitating healing, personal growth, and positive change. My practicum learning experience reinforced and validated many of the therapeutic powers of play documented in the literature and resulted in enhanced clinical skills, and a greater understanding of the therapeutic value of play. The influences of culture, gender, and ethnicity, were not specifically identified, or addressed during clinical or group interventions, though the impact of culture arose as a distinct theme during the context of a group discussion and within the process of game play. Overall, play was experienced as a key component in creating and maintaining a therapeutic relationship while enabling client empowerment and an atmosphere conducive to positive growth and change. --P. ii.