Essential Play Therapy Techniques : Time-Tested Approaches book cover
1st Edition

Essential Play Therapy Techniques
Time-Tested Approaches

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ISBN 9781462524495
Published March 3, 2016 by Guilford Press
280 Pages

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Book Description

Highly practical and user friendly, this book presents 58 play therapy techniques that belong in every child clinician's toolbox. The expert authors draw from multiple theoretical orientations to showcase powerful, well-established approaches applicable to a broad range of childhood problems. Activities, needed materials, and variations of each technique are succinctly described. Of critical importance for today's evidence-based practitioner, each chapter also includes a historical perspective on the technique at hand, a rationale explaining its therapeutic power, and a review of relevant empirical findings. The book enables readers to determine which strategies are appropriate for a particular child or group and rapidly incorporate them into practice.

Table of Contents

I. Toy and Object Play Techniques
1. Ball Play
2. Plush Doll Play
3. Medical Play
4. Baby Doll Play
5. Baby Bottle Play
6. Toy Telephone Play
7. Magic Wand Play
8. Bubble Play
9. Block Play
10. Balloon Play
11. Bop Bag Play
12. Sensory Play
II. Metaphors and Storytelling Techniques
13. Concrete Play Metaphors
14. Turtle Technique
15. Emotion Thermometer
16. Storytelling
17. Externalization Play
18. Bibliotherapy
III. Role-Play Techniques
19. Role Play
20. Costume Play
21. Mask Play
22. Superhero Play
23. Puppet Play
IV. Creative Arts Techniques
24. Color Your Life
25. Clay Play
26. Free Drawings
27. Trauma Drawings
28. Mandala Drawings
29. Serial Drawings
30. Collage
31. Painting
32. Dance/Movement Play
33. Draw a Family
34. Family Sculpting
35. Musical Play
V. Imagery and Fantasy Techniques
36. Guided Imagery
37. The World Technique
38. Dollhouse Play
39. Adaptive Doll Play
40. Rosebush Fantasy Technique
41. Family Relations Technique
42. Worry Dolls
43. Tea Party Play
VI. Game Play Techniques
44. Communication Games
45. Self-Control Games
46. Strategy Games
47. Cooperative Games
48. Chance Games
49. Squiggle Game
VII. Other Techniques
50. Desensitization Play
51. Laughter Play
52. Stress Inoculation Play
53. Reenactment Play
54. Hide-and-Seek Play
55. Magic Tricks
56. Feeling Faces
57. Suitcase Playroom
58. Play Therapy Rituals

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Charles E. Schaefer, PhD, RPT-S, until his death in 2020, was Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. A pioneering play therapist, he was Cofounder and Director Emeritus of the Association for Play Therapy, which recognized him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Schaefer published more than 100 research articles and over 70 professional books, including Prescriptive Play Therapy; Play-Based Interventions for Childhood Anxieties, Fears, and Phobias; and Essential Play Therapy Techniques.

Donna Cangelosi, PsyD, RPT-S, maintains a private practice with children, adolescents, and adults in Wayne, New Jersey, where she practices psychotherapy, clinical supervision, and parent education. She is coeditor of Play Therapy Techniques and The Playing Cure and author of Saying Goodbye in Child Psychotherapy. Dr. Cangelosi has authored a number of professional articles and chapters on the theory and application of psychodynamic play therapy.


"What a wealth of information! Each chapter describes a type of play and its historical roots and empirical support. Uses of each type of play are detailed, providing an understanding of the therapeutic benefits. The relevant age range is clearly identified. Specific suggestions are given for selecting materials and tailoring techniques for different clients, which makes implementation easy. As a recommended text, the book will give students the knowledge needed to discriminate among different techniques. Thanks for this fresh look at the classics!"--Linda E. Homeyer, PhD, LPCS, RPT-S, Professional Counseling Program, Texas State University

"A gem of a book. The authors have taken a transtheoretical approach to their selection of tried-and-true techniques for therapists of all theoretical orientations. The techniques are organized into clear categories and include helpful variations, making this a unique toolbox for clinicians who work with children."--Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S, Director of Clinical Training, Astor Services for Children and Families, Middletown, New York

"Schaefer and Cangelosi offer a unique contribution to the field with this comprehensive exploration of play therapy techniques that have stood the test of time. Unlike many guides to play activities, the book includes a rationale for the use of each technique, empirical findings, and contraindications. It successfully combines applications and clinical foundations. This informative resource will prove useful for both novice and seasoned play therapists."--Sueann Kenney-Noziska, LCSW, RPT-S, private practice, Las Cruces, New Mexico
-Schaefer and Cangelosi provide readers with a user-friendly guide of 58 different techniques with countless variations that can be applied while playing with children. The book is very well organized with interventions coming from seven broad categories that include techniques involving specific toys, metaphors, role-playing, creative arts, fantasy, and games….A variety of play therapists will appreciate that the authors interweave many popular theoretical orientations through the techniques, including cognitive behavior, Theraplay, psychoanalyses, humanism, solution focus, and more….Practitioners will benefit greatly from the authors' personal expertise gained through decades of play therapy practice. They introduce each technique with a rationale that highlights specific benefits for the child….Schaefer and Cangelosi's streamlined organization, clarity of writing, attention to a variety of client populations, and creativity offers a fresh new look and makes this a must-buy resource for play therapy students and practitioners alike.--American Journal of Play, 12/1/2017ƒƒEach activity offers a basic description and variations of the play, age relevance, and what resources are required. What makes this book stand out is that each entry also includes a historical perspective of the play, rationale for its use, and empirical findings--all well referenced….Essential Play Therapy Techniques has prompted my creativity to step up a gear and has me and the counselors I supervise thinking of new ways to use common play activities. One of my favorite suggestions is to use bubble blowing as a way of modeling deep breathing and relaxation techniques….Counselors at any stage of development (but especially those just starting out) will likely gain new ideas or be pushed to think of their own, and perhaps have a bit of fun in learning their historical significance.--BACP Children and Young People, 9/1/2016