The Therapeutic Powers of Play: 20 Core Agents of Change / Edition 2

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While current research shows that play therapy is an effective means of treatment, it doesn't explain why it helps or how to utilize play therapy to bring about positive change. In this revision and expansion of a classic play therapy book, editors Charles Schaefer and Athena Drewes, two renowned experts and pioneers in the field, share the nuts and bolts of how play therapy can foster treatment gains in children and adolescents. This pioneering book provides a unique understanding of the process of play therapy by highlighting the therapeutic forces contained within it and offers practical guidance for mental health professionals who are looking to incorporate play into their practice as well as for certified play therapists looking for a refreshing and up-to-date guide.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"The first Edition of The Therapeutic Powers of Play was always one of my favorite books. I couldn't imagine it could get better, but it has indeed! Focusing on the specific ingredients that activate clinical change, this book is enhanced by current research, more ample scope, and an array of contributions in contemporary and relevant topic areas. I couldn't put this book down, it is full of inspiration, direction, and grounding. This is a stunning contribution to the field of child therapy."
Eliana Gil, Ph.D., Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education

"This first chapter of this book uses the concept of 'therapeutic factors' to create a very logical framework/rationale for pulling together the theories and techniques one might integrate into a prescriptive approach to play therapy. This is incredibly useful as it allows therapists to tailor their work to the needs of their child clients in a logical and systematic way. The remaining chapters describe some of those therapeutic factors and play strategies from which the prescriptive play therapist might draw in creating individualized treatment approaches."
Kevin O'Connor, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University

"The hallmark of a good play therapist is a clear understanding of why play interventions are pertinent, how they work to foster therapeutic change, and how to select and facilitate play therapy processes in ways that are theoretically grounded and empathically attuned to their clients' needs. The Therapeutic Powers of Play provides breadth and depth in exploring the essential features of play operating within the therapy process. Each chapter describes a fundamental therapeutic power of play, empirical support for it, its role in bringing about change, and case material to illustrate. This volume provides a key avenue for play therapists to understand the inner workings of their craft, and thereby, to enhance their use of play therapy with a wide range of client challenges."
Risë VanFleet, Ph.D., RPT-S, CDBC; Author of Child-Centered Play Therapy; Filial Therapy: Play Therapy with Kids & Canines, and others; President, Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center; Past Chair of the Board, the Association for Play Therapy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118336878
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/23/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

CHARLES E. SCHAEFER, PhD, RPT-S, is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. Dr. Schaefer has written or edited over fifty-five professional books, many on the topic of play therapy. He cofounded the Association for Play Therapy in 1982, which currently has over 6,000 members, and now serves as Director Emeritus for the organization.

ATHENA A. DREWES, PsyD, MA, RPT-S, is the Director of Clinical Training and the APA-Accredited Internship at Astor Services for Children & Families, a multiservice nonprofit agency in New York. She is past director of the Association for Play Therapy and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Play Therapy.

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Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

About the Editors xvii

About the Contributors xix

1 Introduction: How Play Therapy Causes Therapeutic Change 1
Athena A. Drewes and Charles E. Schaefer

Therapeutic Factors 1

Therapeutic Powers of Play 2

How Best to Use the Material in This Book 4

References 6


2 Self-Expression 11
Mary Morrison Bennett and Stephanie Eberts

Why Is Self-Expression Therapeutic? 11

Empirical Support of the Power of Self-Expression in Play Therapy 14

Role of Self-Expression in Facilitating Change 15

Strategies and Techniques in Facilitating Self-Expression 16

Applications 21

Clinical Vignettes 21

Summary 23

References 23

3 Access to the Unconscious 25
David Crenshaw and Kathleen Tillman

Introduction 25

The Power of Play Therapy to Access the Unconscious 26

Empirical Support 27

The Role of Accessing the Unconscious in Causing Change 28

Strategies and Techniques 29

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignettes 33

Summary 36

References 37

4 Direct Teaching 39
Theresa Fraser

Introduction 39

Role of Direct Teaching in Causing Change 40

Strategies and Techniques 42

Empirical Support 43

Clinical Applications 44

Vignette 45

Summary 48

References 48

5 Indirect Teaching 51
Aideen Taylor de Faoite

Introduction 51

Indirect Teaching 52

Empirical Support 53

Role of Indirect Teaching in Causing Change 56

Strategies and Techniques 59

Clinical Applications and Vignettes 61

Conclusion 66

References 67


6 Catharsis 71
Athena A. Drewes and Charles E. Schaefer

Introduction 71

Description of Catharsis 72

Empirical Support 73

Role of Catharsis in Causing Change 74

Clinical Applications 75

Techniques 76

Contraindications 77

Clinical Vignettes 78

References 79

7 Abreaction 83
Eileen Prendiville

Introduction 83

Description of Abreaction 85

Empirical Support 87

Role of Abreaction in Causing Change 89

Strategies and Techniques 92

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignettes 94

References 98

8 Positive Emotions 103
Terry Kottman

Introduction 103

Description of Positive Emotion 104

Empirical Support 107

Role of Positive Emotion in Causing Change 111

Strategies and Techniques 113

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignettes 115

References 117

9 Counterconditioning Fears 121
Tammi Van Hollander

Description of Counterconditioning Fears 121

The Role of Counterconditioning Fears in Causing Change 122

Play Strategies and Techniques 122

Empirical Support 124

Clinical Applications 125

Case Vignettes 125

Conclusion 129

References 129

10 Stress Inoculation 131
Angela M. Cavett

Description of Stress Inoculation 131

Empirical Support for Stress Inoculation 133

Role of Stress Inoculation in Causing Change 134

Strategies and Techniques 136

Clinical Vignettes 136

Conclusion 139

References 140

11 Stress Management 143
Kristin S. Bemis

Introduction 143

Description of Stress Management 144

Empirical Support 145

Role of Stress Management in Causing Change 146

Strategies and Techniques 148

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignettes 149

References 152


12 Therapeutic Relationship 157
Anne L. Stewart and Lennis G. Echterling

Introduction 157

Description of the Therapeutic Relationship 157

Empirical Support 159

Role of the Therapeutic Relationship in Causing Change 160

Strategies and Techniques 161

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignettes 163

Conclusion 167

References 168

13 Attachment 171
William F. Whelan and Anne L. Stewart

Introduction 171

Description of Attachment 171

Empirical Support 173

The Role of Attachment in Causing Change 174

Strategies and Techniques 177

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignette 179

Conclusion 181

References 182

14 Social Competence 185
Julie Blundon Nash

Introduction 185

Description of Social Competence 185

Empirical Support 186

Role of Peer Relationships in Causing Change 187

Strategies and Techniques 188

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignettes 189

Conclusion 192

References 192

15 Empathy 195
Richard Gaskill

Introduction 195

Description of Empathy 196

Empirical Support 196

Components of Empathy 197

Role of Empathy in Causing Change 201

Strategies and Techniques 203

Clinical Applications 204

Summary 206

References 207


16 Creative Problem Solving 213
Sandra W. Russ and Claire E. Wallace

Introduction 213

Description of Creative Problem Solving 213

Role of Creative Problem Solving in Causing Change 214

Clinical Applications 215

Empirical Support 217

Clinical Vignette 219

References 222

17 Resiliency 225
John Seymour

Description of Resiliency 226

Role of Resiliency in Causing Change 227

Clinical Applications 228

Empirical Support 233

Clinical Vignette 234

References 238

18 Moral Development 243
Jill Packman

Description of Moral Development 243

Empathy 245

Neurobiology 246

Role of Moral Development in Causing Change 246

Individual Play Therapy Techniques 247

Group Play Therapy Techniques 248

Child-Parent Relationship Therapy 249

Clinical Vignettes 250

Applications 253

References 253

19 Accelerated Psychological Development 255
Siobhán Prendiville

Introduction 255

Importance of the Specific Power 255

Empirical Support 255

Role of Accelerated Psychological Development in Causing Change 259

Strategies and Technique 259

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignettes 263

References 265

20 Self-Regulation 269
Marcie Yeager and Daniel Yeager

Introduction 269

The Power of Self-Regulation 270

Executive Function Allows for Goal-Directed (Intentional) Behavior 271

An Experience of Empowerment: Emphasizing the “Self” in Self-Regulation 272

Empirical Support: What the Research Shows 272

A Developmental Perspective: How Self-Regulation Is Internalized 274

The Zone of Proximal Development 277

The “Future Child” 278

The Role of Play in the Development of Self-Regulation 278

Strategies for Assessment and Treatment: Staying in the Zone 282

Summary 292

References 292

21 Self-Esteem 295
Diane Frey

Introduction 295

Description of Self-Esteem 295

Empirical Support 298

Role of Self-Esteem in Causing Change 300

Strategies and Techniques 303

Clinical Applications and Clinical Vignettes 309

Conclusion 317

References 317

Author Index 319

Subject Index 331


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