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The Healing Power of Play: Working with Abused Children

ISBN: 9780898624670, Title: The Healing Power of Play: Working with Abused Children
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Children traumatized by either abuse or neglect have special therapeutic needs. They can be difficult to engage for a variety of reasons: many have been frightened into silence and many have had their trust in adults betrayed; they may be hostile and acting out; and, if young, they may lack the sophistication of language or sexual terminology to clearly impart what has occurred. Whether or not children know how to communicate directly with a therapist, all children know how to play. This book describes how therapists can both facilitate constructive play therapy and intervene in posttraumatic play to help children who have been traumatized by abuse or neglect achieve a positive resolution.
The book combines theory with a practical "how-to" approach for treating abused children. Traditional techniques of play therapy are reviewed for their application to this population. Special emphasis is given to posttraumatic play in two ways. First, because rigid posttraumatic play can be dangerous--it does not help to release anxiety and tends to fixate the child on the trauma and subsequent difficult emotions--the book demonstrates how to intervene when this type of play occurs. Second, the book explains how to facilitate flexible and dynamic posttraumatic play when it does not surface spontaneously in treatment. This sort of play can be very constructive in helping the child to assimilate the traumatic experience. Throughout, numerous therapeutic aids are described to enhance the child's capacity to communicate verbally or symbolically.
To help clinicians translate theory into daily practice, the book presents six detailed clinical vignettes of trauma stemming from different types ofabuse or neglect. The cases included involve severe parental neglect, chronic and episodic sexual abuse, and neglect compounded by hospitalization. Presenting step-by-step guidelines for assessment and intervention, these cases clearly illustrate treatment planning and how to tailor responses to particular children, including children with multiple personality disorder. They demonstrate how to use directive and nondirective play therapy techniques as treatment progresses.
With its valuable insights and practical guidance, THE HEALING POWER OF PLAY is an essential resource for all mental health professionals who work with abused children. Those who work with adult survivors will learn much of value for treating the "child within." The book also serves as a text for advanced courses on child therapy, child development, family therapy, domestic violence, or child abuse. Other professionals who come into contact with abused children such as protective service workers, medical professionals, clergy, teachers, and day-care professionals will find much of interest.

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Guilford Publications
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1991
  • ISBN-13:9780898624670
  • ISBN-10: 0898624673