1st Edition

Creative Psychotherapy Applying the principles of neurobiology to play and expressive arts-based practice

Edited By Eileen Prendiville, Justine Howard Copyright 2017
    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    Creative Psychotherapy brings together the expertise of leading authors and clinicians from around the world to synthesise what we understand about how the brain develops, the neurological impact of trauma and the development of play. The authors explain how to use this information to plan developmentally appropriate interventions and guide creative counselling across the lifespan.

    The book includes a theoretical rationale for various creative media associated with particular stages of neural development, and examines how creative approaches can be used with all client groups suffering from trauma. Using case studies and exemplar intervention plans, the book presents ways in which creative activities can be used sequentially to support healing and development in young children, adolescents and adults.

    Creative Psychotherapy will be of interest to mental health professionals working with children, adolescents and adults, including play and arts therapists, counsellors, family therapists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and teachers. It will also be a valuable resource for clinically oriented postgraduate students, and therapists who work with victims of interpersonal trauma.

    Creative Psychotherapy: Applying the principles of neurobiology to play and expressive arts-based practice

    Content Sequence


    Introduction (Eileen Prendiville & Justine Howard)

    Foreword (Dr Sue Bratton)

    Section 1: Applying the principles of neurobiology to play and expressive arts-based practice

    Title Page

    Chapter 1: Neurobiology for psychotherapists (Eileen Prendiville)

    Chapter 2: Neurobiologically informed psychotherapy (Eileen Prendiville and Justine Howard)

    Chapter 3: The role of non-directive and directive/Focused approaches to play and expressive arts therapy for children, adolescents, and adults (Terry Kottman, Rebecca Dickinson and Kristin Meany-Walen)

    Chapter 4: Counselling skills in action with children, adolescents and adults (Lorri Yasenik and Ken Gardner)

    Section 2: Working with the Brainstem and Midbrain

    Title Page

    Chapter 5: The role of music and rhythm in the development, integration and repair of the self (Eimir McGrath)

    Chapter 6: Being, becoming and healing through movement and touch (Maggie Fearn and Pablo Troccoli)

    Chapter 7: Coming Alive: Finding joy through sensory play (Siobhán Prendiville and Maggie Fearn)

    Section 3: Working with the Limbic and Cortical Systems

    Title Page

    Chapter 8: Art in Psychotherapy: The healing power of images (Claire Colreavy Donnelly)

    Chapter 9: Sandtray Therapy: A neurobiological approach (Daniel S. Sweeney)

    Chapter 10: Telling Tales: Weaving new neural networks (Aideen Taylor de Faoite & Theresa Fraser)

    Chapter 11: A Growing Brain – A growing imagination (Karen Stagnitti)

    Conclusion & Discussion (Joan Wilson)


    Eileen Prendiville is the Course Director for the MA in Creative Psychotherapy and Play Therapy at Ireland’s Children’s Therapy Centre. She is heavily involved in providing play therapy and creative psychotherapy training, both nationally and internationally. She devised ‘The Therapeutic Touchstone’, an innovative approach for use when working with vulnerable and dependent clients and, with Justine Howard, co-authored Play Therapy Today: Contemporary practice for individuals, groups and parents.

    Dr Justine Howard is an Associate Professor at the College of Human and Health Science at Swansea University. She is a Chartered Psychologist and specialist in developmental and therapeutic play. Her consultancy activity has included the delivery of training courses in play for a wide range of professional groups across children’s services. She is internationally recognized as an expert in play and child development, and has published numerous journal articles, book chapters and books in this field.


    This book is a timely and valuable gift to the field of play and expressive arts-based psychotherapy. Neurosequential development is essential knowledge for therapists who work with individuals across the lifespan and specifically to address concerns arising in childhood. Prendiville and Howard have logically sequenced this volume to incorporate neurobiological principles with targeted sensory interventions for lower brain regions and with creative art, narrative and imaginative play interventions to progress neural integration for higher brain systems. A synaptic tree of therapeutic knowledge. - Judi Parson, PhD, RN, APPTA RPT-S: Lecturer in Mental Health - Child Play Therapy at Deakin University, Australia

    Creative Psychotherapy is a fantastic addition to the child therapy literature. This volume offers a wonderfully rich integration of current neurobiological research with various play and expressive therapeutic practices. The worlds of clinical practice and developmental research often exist in parallel. Creative Psychotherapy helps bridge these worlds, to the benefit of practitioners, researchers, and most importantly, the children who we try to understand and help. - Henry Kronengold, PhD, Clinical Supervisor, Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, City University of New York, USA

    "I enjoyed the book immensely. I felt like I walked right into it and couldn't leave it alone! Some areas I read and re-read several times, then was so intrigued I went to the reference texts to study them. I'm excited to see where this goes!" – Joan Wilson, Registered Psychotherapist, Certified Play Therapy Supervisor, Trainer and Supervisor with the Theraplay® Institute