Standards > Ethical System

Ethical Framework - Introduction

This ethical framework for therapeutic play, filial play and play therapy, unifies and replaces an earlier Code of Ethics. It provides a number of benefits (link to Benefits of PTUK's Ethical Framework bookmark) for practitioners. It is also applicable to play therapy research and the management of the delivery of these services within organisations. It is intended to inform the practice of each member of PTI.

Some Affiliates such as PTUK and PTIrl have their own ethical frameworks which are very similar to PTI’s. Other Affiliates may have own ethical framework, which although based on PTI’s, may have adaptations which reflect the statutory requirements and culture of their country. In some countries such as Canada and the United States it has been common practice to use the codes of ethics of other professional organisations such as the APA. In other instances the organisation that the therapist works for will have their own ethical standards. This is quite acceptable. The important point is that a practitioner clearly states to those legally responsible for the child which ethical framework or code is being used. PTI does however recommend the use of its framework wherever possible because we believe that it provides the flexibility for practitioners that is required for today’s conditions.

The ethical framework is one component of PTI's ethical system - the other three being the PTUK Register of Certified Practitioners, the Professional Conduct Practice (link to page EthicsProfessionalConductProc1) procedures (embodying a public complaints procedure) and Clinical Governance requirements.

The framework is closely based upon the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Ethical Framework, adapted and extended for the special needs of working with children. In using much of the text of the BACP Ethical Framework PTI acknowledges BACP’s authorship and copyright properties under the Berne Convention and expresses thanks for BACP’s permission and help. The framework was originally developed by PTUK in conjunction with PTI to encourage unified standards of practice in all countries.

The complete PTUK Ethical Framework may be downloaded as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file from   HERE.
To view and print this document you require a copy of the Acrobat Reader - obtainable free of charge from :

Ethical Framework as a PDF file


Benefits of PTAU's Ethical Framework

  • Recognises that ethical decisions often have to be based on situations that are not always 'black and white'. Avoids being bound by a rigid 'book of rules'.

  • Takes account that therapeutic play,play therapy and filial play coaching/mentoring are being used increasingly in complex, multi-agency situations where there may be conflicting priorities and ethical decision criteria.

  • Provides greater flexibility of ethical decision taking for therapists and clinical supervisors.

  • Places greater responsibility upon the therapist.

  • Recognises that individuals may legitimately come to different ethical decisions concerning the same circumstances.

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