Child Therapy in the Great Outdoors: A Relational Viewby Sebastiano Santostefano
Building on relational conceptualizations of enactment and on developmental research that attests to the role of embodied, nonverbal language in the meanings children impute to their experiences, Sebastiano Santostefano offers this compelling demonstration of effective child therapy conducted in the “great outdoors.” Specifically, he argues that, for the child, traumatic life-metaphors should be resolved at an embodied rather than an exclusively verbal level; they should be resolved, that is, as they are enacted between child and therapist. To this end, child and therapist must take advantage of all the indoor and outdoor environments available to them. As they take therapy to nontraditional places, relying on the nonverbal vocabulary they have constructed together, they move toward enacted solutions to relational crises, solutions that revise the child’s sense of self and ability to form new and productive relationships.
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