2nd Edition

Cultural Issues in Play Therapy

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ISBN 9781462546909
August 2, 2021 Forthcoming by Guilford Press
214 Pages

USD $32.00

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Book Description

This unique resource is now in an extensively revised second edition with more than 90% new material and an expanded conceptual framework. Filled with rich case material, the book explores how children's cultural identities--as well as experiences of marginalization--shape the challenges they bring to therapy and the ways they express themselves. Expert practitioners guide therapists to build competence for working across different dimensions of diversity, including race and ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. Purchasers get access to a companion website featuring chapters from the first edition on play therapy with major cultural groups: African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian Americans.
New to This Edition
*Virtually a new book; incorporates a broader definition of culture and an increased social justice focus.
*Chapters on working with children of color, LGBT children and adolescents, undocumented families, and Deaf children.
*Chapter on dismantling white privilege in the play therapy office.
*Chapters on school bullying and on how technology is transforming play, including tips for conducting tele-play therapy.



Eliana Gil, PhD, RPT-S, ATS, is a founding partner and senior clinical and research consultant in a private group practice, the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, in Fairfax, Virginia. Dr. Gil is an approved marriage and family therapy supervisor; a registered play therapist/supervisor; a registered art therapist; a Circle of Security certified parent educator; and a Level II Theraplay provider. She is a former president of the Association for Play Therapy, which honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Gil is the author of numerous publications on child abuse prevention and treatment. Originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, she is bilingual and bicultural.
Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S, is a licensed psychologist, certified school psychologist, and registered play therapist and supervisor. Dr. Drewes is semi-retired in Ocala, Florida. She has over 40 years of clinical and supervision experience with children and adolescents experiencing complex trauma and sexual abuse in school, outpatient, and inpatient settings. She is a past board member of the Association for Play Therapy and a founder and president emeritus of the New York Association for Play Therapy. A frequently invited guest lecturer around the United States and internationally, Dr. Drewes has published 11 books on play therapy.


"Gil and Drewes offer a timely update to their original edition, taking into account such momentous changes as the current racial justice movement and the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors offer personal testimonies, case studies, and practical play interventions that readers can immediately apply to their work with children from marginalized communities. This book should be on the shelves of both emerging and seasoned play therapists, and can be useful for courses on child welfare, diagnosis and assessment, and cultural diversity. Readers are challenged to acknowledge how White privilege and bias may appear in the playroom, and are guided to effectively diagnose and treat of children from various subcultures. I highly recommend that every play therapist use this book as a guide to build the foundation of antibias clinical work with children and families."--April D. Duncan, MSW, LCSW, RPT-S, Founder and CEO, BMH Connect

"As a Black clinician, I appreciate the depth with which racial injustice and White privilege are addressed in this book. Readers will benefit from the transparency around challenges with race and culture in the play therapy room and the need to provide culturally responsive treatment. The authors are reflective and consider how racial, ethnic, and other disparities affect mental health practice with oppressed and marginalized communities. I felt inspired by the case examples and vignettes to continue examining my own beliefs, values, and biases to prevent them from showing up with the clients I serve."--Althea T. Simpson, MBA, LCSW, RPT-S, Black Play Therapy Society, Woodbridge, Virginia

"Gil and Drewes have created a strikingly different second edition that positions cultural sensitivity as one of the most salient issues of our time. What differentiates this edition is a deeper dive into the interacting psychosocial stressors that affect various subcultures. For play therapy educators, the book provides a platform to guide students through relevant yet often difficult content, with a focus on clinical principles, reflection, awareness, and self-evaluation. The volume is rich in poignant case examples. I recommend this second edition as required reading in graduate-level play therapy and child/family psychotherapy courses. Be prepared for growth!"--Mary Anne Peabody, EdD, LCSW, RPT-S, Social and Behavioral Sciences Program, University of Southern Maine

"A valuable tool for play therapists of all skill levels. It provides a working definition of 'culture' and goes to the heart of issues involved in conducting play therapy with children from differing cultures and subcultures. Chapters offer effective techniques and strategies to employ in clinical practice. This is a wonderful and timely book."--John Paul Lilly, MS, LCSW, RPT-S, private practice, Provo, Utah​-