 Carl Rogers – founder of person-centered therapy  Virginia Axline o Student of Carl Rogers o Founder of child-centered play therapy  Clark Moustakas

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  • Carl Rogers founder of person-centered therapy Virginia Axline o Student of Carl Rogers o Founder of child-centered play therapy Clark Moustakas o Early child-centered play therapist
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  • Garry Landreth o Founder and director of Center for Play Therapy, University of North Texas o Author of the most popular child-centered play therapy text book, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship o First person to conduct treatment outcome studies of child-centered play therapy (CCPT) o Co-founder of the Association for Play Therapy (APT; a4pt.org)
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  • Awareness of and responsiveness to subtle cues in child subtle forms of communication (e.g., paying attention to childs pulling hangnail) Therapists participation in a secure relationship Childs freedom to explore not only the environment but also the contents of his or her own mind
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  • I am not all knowing; therefore, I will not even attempt to be (contrast with child PDT and child CBT) I know so little about the complex intricacies of childhood; therefore, I will allow children to teach me. I will relinquish the grasp I have on reality and try to enter the world as experienced by the child. It feels good to be an authority, to provide answers; therefore, I will need to work hard to protect children from me! I have learned most of what I know from experiencing; therefore, I will allow children to experience.
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  • Cultivating a developmental perspective in play therapy o World of reality and verbal expression (Epsteins rational system; Freuds secondary process) o Conceptual-expressive world (Epsteins experiential system; Freuds primary process) Forms of communication o Verbal domain of adults who have acquired symbolic sophistication o Nonverbal domain of children (11 years old) who have not acquired symbolic sophistication Play Activity (e.g., enactment)
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  • Functions of Play o UN proclamation of play universal and inalienable right of childhood o Play is the singular central activity of childhood o Contrast between work and play Work Goal-directed Accommodation of environmental demands Play Intrinsically rewarding Assimilation of environment to match the childs concepts (e.g., child using spoon as car) o What happens for children during play? Children discharge energy and relieve frustrations Children learn social and life-task skills Children master and achieve difficult goals Children experiment with and understand culture Children resolve conflicts and communicate feelings
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  • Play as medium of communication o Self-initiated and spontaneous o Restrictions to verbal communication place a barrier to the therapeutic relationship: Come up to my level of communication and communicate with words. Play in the therapeutic process o Definition: Play therapy is defined as a dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child (or person of any age) and a therapist trained in play therapy procedures who provides selected play materials and facilitates the development of a safe relationship for the child (or person of any age) to fully express and explore self (feelings, thoughts, experiences, and behaviors) through play, the childs natural medium of communication, for optimal growth and development (p.11)
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  • Success of therapy depends most importantly on the development and maintenance of the therapeutic relationship Toys are words; play is the language the playing cure Children for whom direct communication is too threatening can safely project all feelings and attitudes through toys they select Play as the symbolic language of self-expression reveals o What the child has experienced o The childs reactions to what was experienced o The childs feelings about what was experienced o What the child wishes, wants, or needs o The childs perception of self
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  • Symbolic play o Play bridges the gap between concrete experience and abstract thought (Piaget, 1962) o Children learn to cope by engaging in self-directed exploration (beginning of development of insight) o The symbolic nature of play allows for displacement a distancing from the content that makes their experiences safe for children to address o Children experience being in control of their experiences
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  • Stages in the play therapy process (Moustakas, 1955) o Initially diffuse negative feelings o Ambivalent feelings generally anxious or hostile o More focused negative feelings expressed toward significant others o Ambivalent feelings expressed as positive and negative feelings toward significant others o Clear, distinct, separate, usually realistic positive and negative attitudes, with positive attitudes predominating (differentiation and integration)
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  • Play of adjusted and maladjusted children o Maladjusted childrens play More dysphoric feelings Conflictual themes Play disruptions Negative self-disclosing statements Play out conflicts in more of the session More intense aggression o Adjusted childrens play Less intense aggression More acceptance of responsibility Less conflict-ridden


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