Helping Abused and Traumatized Children: Integrating Directive and Nondirective Approaches / Edition 1

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Presenting an integrative model for traumatized children, this book combines play, art, and other expressive therapies with ideas and strategies drawn from cognitive-behavioral and family therapy. Eliana Gil demonstrates how to tailor treatment to the needs of each child by using both directive and nondirective approaches. Throughout, practical clinical examples illustrate ways to target trauma-related symptomatology while also helping children process painful feelings and memories that are difficult to verbalize. The book concludes with four in-depth cases that bring to life the unique situation of each child and family, the decision making process of the therapist, and the applications of developmentally informed, creative, and flexible interventions.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book discusses integrating various treatment approaches to help children who have been traumatized by physical/sexual abuse and/or other forms of mistreatment. The author combines both directive and nondirective approaches in her work.
Purpose: According to the author in the preface, the treatment model she presents "has been developed in the course of my own professional maturation, and it represents an integration of several grounding theories." In the first chapter, she continues, "The purpose is to emphasize the necessity and applicability of an integrative approach to working with children, especially abused and traumatized ones. This approach recognizes children's linguistic and cognitive limitations and their varied developmental levels, as well as the clinical challenges frequently presented by children's resistance to a therapy process that is often unfamiliar and that they themselves infrequently seek out." (p. 3). At the end of chapter one, she adds, "my message in this chapter (and in this book as a whole) is that working with abused children requires an integrated approach that is flexible and responsive to a client's unique needs. Mental health professionals who pursue this approach must remain conversant with a variety of theories and approaches (both evidence-based and clinically sound), and have the ability to shift perspectives in order to maximize therapy opportunities for their clients."
Audience: The intended audience includes all mental health professionals working with children and families, including child and school psychologists, social workers, play and art therapists, counselors, family therapists, and psychiatrists, as well as graduate students and trainees in these fields. The author is director of the Starbright Training Institute for Child and Family Play Therapy. She has 33 years of experience and has authored books on abused children.
Features: The first part of the book covers the context for clinical work, while the second presents four case illustrations. In the first part, the author discusses basic principles and guidelines for assessment and treatment. Later, she addresses specific therapies including expressive therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and family therapy/family play therapy. This book is effective because of the many clinical examples, including the formal case illustrations in part 2. This book is very easy to read. The author integrates various theoretical perspectives, especially expressive therapy. This information can help both seasoned therapists and those early in their career.
Assessment: This is a very practical book, reasonably priced and conveying pearls of wisdom. It is written by an author with extensive experience who knows how to convey it effectively. Graduate students in child psychology will benefit greatly from the four case illustrations. Though the author has years of experience, her humble attitude comes through loud and clear in her final statement in the epilogue: "I am committed to continuing to observe, learn, and study so that I can best assist my clients."
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

"Using the same user-friendly style that I have appreciated in her previous writings and presentations, Gil provides helping professionals with a valuable resource that effectively combines theory, research, and clinical case examples. The readability of the text and the detailed use of illustrations that complement the material enhance the quality of this book and speak to Gil's reputation as one of the best in the field of child-focused family therapy."--Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
Child and Family Journal

"Dr. Gil's knowledge, talent, and relentless compassion for the abused child is evident....I find Dr. Gil's work inspirational, practical, and theoretically sound. Her book provides an analytical basis for tailoring individual treatment plans and illustrates a balanced approach to personal care. It is my opinion that all professionals engaged with children impacted by any form of abuse and trauma must have this invaluable resource at their disposal."--Child and Family Journal
Child and Family Behavior Therapy

"This is a text for clinicians by a master clinician with many years experience in the field....A valuable text for those working in the field. It organizes many years of clinical experience and insight into a readable book. Its cost is modest for anyone wishing to increase their knowledge and skills in this area."--Child and Family Behavior Therapy
The Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal

"Serves to assist the therapist who desires to be fluent with multiple theories and approaches, while always respecting the uniqueness of each individual client and his/her family."--The Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal

"Gil's approach extends beyond the mere integration of therapeutic modalities to focus additionally on the integration of empirically validated treatment approaches with techniques that have not received empirical support for their effectiveness....Gil provides useful practical guidelines, general principles, and goals for both assessment and intervention using the integrated approach model. The author also describes the expressive therapy techniques in such rich detail that the reader has an excellent understanding of the potential power of these therapeutic tools in their most nuanced form....The detailed case examples included in each chapter as well as the four in-depth case studies presented at the end of the volume bring the author's therapeutic approach to life in an informal and relatable way that proves to be both interesting and compelling."--APA PsycCRITIQUES

— Cindy Miller-Perrin

Children Now

"I recommend the book for those working with sexually abused and traumatized children. It would also be valuable for many social workers to increase their understanding of the need to separate play as an assessment tool and as a therapy to heal, and the appropriate sharing of information."--Children Now
From the Publisher

"In this book, Eliana Gil skillfully shows how a well-selected repertoire of methods can be flexibly combined and adapted to facilitate the successful treatment of traumatized children. Through excellent, detailed case examples, she demonstrates ways to individualize treatment by attending carefully to the personal meanings and experiences of each child. The cases will be of benefit and interest to professionals experienced in working with children, as well as to students in all of the mental health disciplines. This is an excellent work."--Kathleen Nader, DSW, Austin, Texas

"What a refreshing book! In the age of managed care, Gil provides a clear and compelling argument for the importance of experience, compassion, and insight. Clinicians know that each child is unique, and a flexible, multidimensional approach to healing is what we need to be able to provide. Gil discusses how she has drawn from various schools of thought and therapeutic models to build a clinical workshop with many tools, and how she has learned to use the right tool at the right time to help traumatized children. I highly recommend this book to anyone working with children."--Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, ChildTrauma Academy, Houston, Texas

"Gil artfully combines her own experiences as a play therapist with contemporary research findings to provide this practical, interesting guide. Beautifully told accounts of play therapy with young trauma survivors illustrate this thoughtful treatment approach, which integrates cognitive-behavioral, expressive, and family therapies. For practitioners as well as students, this book provides a helpful framework for individualizing treatment to fit the unique needs of each child."--Janine Shelby, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
"Gil brings more than 30 years of her rich and always evolving clinical wisdom, practice, and experience to this book. She offers us a truly timely and welcome overview of her insights on how to best help abused and traumatized children...Her approach is refreshingly integrative--a seamless blend of cognitive-behavioral therapies with interventions drawn from family, play, and psychodynamic modalities. The overarching emphasis is on the child's uniqueness, inner resources, and situational circumstances. Not only does she provide a sound theoretical context for each of the techniques she describes, but she also provides practical, detailed guidelines and extensive case illustrations as well. A must read for all child therapists!"--Leo Goldberger, PhD, Department of Psychology (Emeritus), New York University


"Gil's approach extends beyond the mere integration of therapeutic modalities to focus additionally on the integration of empirically validated treatment approaches with techniques that have not received empirical support for their effectiveness....Gil provides useful practical guidelines, general principles, and goals for both assessment and intervention using the integrated approach model. The author also describes the expressive therapy techniques in such rich detail that the reader has an excellent understanding of the potential power of these therapeutic tools in their most nuanced form....The detailed case examples included in each chapter as well as the four in-depth case studies presented at the end of the volume bring the author's therapeutic approach to life."--PsycCRITIQUES
Person-Centred Quarterly

"Gil draws upon integrating cognitive behavioural and non-directive play work and family therapy to present a book rich in clinical wisdom and illustrated with many vignettes from her practice....I welcome this work wholeheartedly as it will give the practitioner, and indeed student, some solid ideas and ways to 'tailor' their work to the individual child....I recommend this book to those practitioners who work with children and families—it is a valuable resource and guide. Gil has presented her ideas in a concise and comprehensive manner and it is food for thought for those of us who work in a non-integrative manner."--Person-Centred Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593853341
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/15/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 254
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Eliana Gil, PhD, is senior partner in a private group practice in Fairfax, Virginia, the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, which provides therapy, consulting, and training services. She is also Director of Starbright Training Institute for Child and Family Play Therapy in northern Virginia. Dr. Gil has worked in the field of child abuse prevention and treatment for nearly 40 years. A licensed marriage, family, and child counselor; approved marriage and family therapy supervisor; registered play therapist; and registered play therapy supervisor, Dr. Gil has served on the Board of Directors of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse, and is a former President of the Association for Play Therapy. She is the author of The Healing Power of Play: Working with Abused Children; Play in Family Therapy; Treating Abused Adolescents; Helping Abused and Traumatized Children: Integrating Directive and Nondirective Approaches, and other acclaimed books and video programs on child abuse and related topics. Originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, Dr. Gil is bilingual and bicultural.
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Table of Contents

I. The Context for Clinical Work
1. Basic Principles in Working with Abused and Traumatized Children
2. Guidelines for Integrated Assessments
3. Guidelines for Integrated Treatment
4. Expressive Therapies
5. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
6. Family Therapy and Family Play Therapy
7. Special Issues: Posttraumatic Play and Problems of Dissociation
II. Four Case Illustrations
8. Scotty, the Castle, and the Princess Guard
9. Carla's Search for Her Lost Mother
10. Danger in the Backyard
11. The Witch, the Baby, and the Bug, Sarah Stoudt Briggs Epilogue

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