How to Be a Better Child Therapist: An Integrative Model for Therapeutic Change

How to Be a Better Child Therapist: An Integrative Model for Therapeutic Change

by Kenneth Barish


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An integrative approach for child therapists of all disciplines and at all levels of training and experience.

How to Be a Better Child Therapist is an innovative contribution to the theory and practice of child therapy. Drawing on several decades of experience, Kenneth Barish presents a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to therapeutic work with children and families, based on a contemporary understanding of children’s emotions and emotional needs. This book offers a new theoretical integration, an in-depth discussion of the essential processes of child therapy, and a wealth of practical recommendations to help child therapists solve the varied problems presented to us in daily clinical work. 

Part 1 provides a theoretical foundation. Barish demonstrates how emotional and behavioral problems of childhood are most often caused by vicious cycles of painful emotions and pathogenic family interactions. Successful therapy arrests this malignant development and sets in motion positive cycles of healthy emotional and interpersonal experiences—increased confidence and engagement in life and more affirming interactions between parents and children. Over time, children and adolescents develop a less critical inner voice and more positive expectations for their future—a new sense of what is possible in their lives. 

Part 2 describes 10 principles that guide our efforts toward this overarching therapeutic goal. Barish offers advice on how we can improve all aspects of clinical work with children: How can we engage more children in treatment? Why is empathy essential to children’s emotional health and effective therapy? How do children learn to regulate their emotions? What is the role of play in contemporary child therapy? How can we combat a child’s discouragement and self-doubt? How can we overcome children’s resistance to talking about bad feelings? 

Part 3 presents a framework for therapeutic work with parents. Barish describes general principles for strengthening family relationships as well as practical plans for solving many common problems of their daily family life. He offers strategies for helping children who have difficulty with separations, doing homework, getting ready in the morning, or going to sleep at night; children with tantrums and uncooperativeness, rudeness and disrespect, sibling conflicts, and addiction to video games—problems for which parents, often urgently, ask our help. How to Be a Better Child Therapist is both inspiring and practical, essential reading for therapists of all theoretical orientations who work with children and families.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393712346
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/21/2018
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kenneth Barish, PhD, is clinical professor of psychology at Weill-Cornell Medical College and lives in Mamaroneck, New York.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xiii

Part 1 An Integrative Model for Child Psychotherapy

Chapter 1 Understanding Children's Emotions: Reasons for an Emotion-Based Developmental Theory 3

Chapter 2 Bad Feelings: Pathological Development in Childhood and Adolescence 20

Chapter 3 How Does Child Therapy Promote Change? 34

Part 2 Changing Vicious Cycles into Positive Cycles: 10 Therapeutic Principles

Chapter 4 Case Conceptualization: Getting the Big Picture 47

Chapter 5 How to Engage More Children in Treatment 63

Chapter 6 What Is Empathy and How Does it Help? 71

Chapter 7 How Do Children Learn to Regulate Their Emotions? 84

Chapter 8 The Role of Play in Contemporary Child Psychotherapy 101

Chapter 9 Encouragement, Sleep, and Helping Others 115

Chapter 10 "I Don't Want To Talk About It": The Art of Child Therapy 130

Part 3 A Therapeutic Plan To Strengthen Family Relationships and Solve Common Problems

Chapter 11 "Positiveness" 141

Chapter 12 Repair and Problem Solving: The Most Important 10 Minutes of a Child's Day 157

Chapter 13 Mornings, Homework, Going to Sleep, and Separations 173

Chapter 14 Limits and Discipline: Tantrums and Demands, Rudeness and Disrespect, Video Games, and More 191

Epilogue 217

Endnotes 219

References 229

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