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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book presents short-term approaches to play therapy for children, including individual work, family work, and group work. In this era of managed healthcare and limited resources, this book provides readers with various treatment options. The previous edition was published in 2000.
Purpose: According to the editors, this book is "an up-to-date presentation of how to do short-term play therapy with children who have psychological problems of varying degrees. The second edition includes revised and updated revisions of some of the same chapters..., incorporating new treatments and techniques that have had clinical significance." They conclude, "This book provides creative and effective techniques to help play and other child therapists become more adept in brief play therapy and offer the safety, security, and enjoyment needed for children to work through their difficulties in a playful, therapeutic format with long-lasting results."
Audience: The editors intend the book for play and other child therapists, as well as graduate level students. Both editors have extensive experience and impeccable credentials.
Features: This book is divided into three parts covering individual, family, and group play therapy. In part one, the authors address specific diagnostic categories such as PTSD, anxiety, disruptive behavior disorders, mood disorders, and ADHD. Chapter 3, on short-term play therapy for children with disruptive behavior disorders, is well written and presents a method of working with difficult children, not a theory. The author helps readers to understand why a child behaves in disruptive ways and how to work with both the child and parents. Part two provides ideas for working with adoptive families and combining sand play and family therapy, among others. Part three includes working with children with social skills deficits and children whose parents are divorcing. The book is easy to read and practical. The chapters provide a step-by-step approach with case illustrations. The book is especially essential for graduate students who need to know what techniques/strategies are in the field. The beauty of this material is that it provides short-term interventions, which are especially needed in this era of managed care. There are no obvious shortcomings, but the more the book tries to cover (individual, family, and group work), the more it becomes obvious it is only possible to treat the subject rather superficially. This is a resource that can whet a reader's appetite to find more in a specific area.
Assessment: This is an important resource for those who work with children or are studying to do so. It is practical and full of creative ideas for individual, group, and family interventions. Many of the chapters present specific session guidelines. And most importantly, these ideas can be implemented in a relatively brief period of time, in accord with the demands of insurance companies. This second edition is justified because it has been updated and includes five new chapters.