Handbook of Medical Play Therapy and Child Life: Interventions in Clinical and Medical Settings, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Handbook of Medical Play Therapy and Child Life

Interventions in Clinical and Medical Settings, 1st Edition

Edited by Lawrence C. Rubin


398 pages | 27 B/W Illus.

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The Handbook of Medical Play Therapy and Child Life brings together the voices and clinical experiences of dedicated clinical practitioners in the fields of play therapy and child life. This volume offers fresh insights and up to date research in the use of play with children, adolescents, and families in medical and healthcare settings. Chapters take a strength-based approach to clinical interventions across a wide range of health-related issues, including autism, trauma, routine medical care, pending surgeries both large and small, injury, immune deficiency, and more. Through its focus on the resiliency of the child, the power of play, and creative approaches to healing, this handbook makes visible the growing overlap and collaboration between the disciplines of play therapy and child life. 


"Illness, injury, and resulting medical care often result in significant anxiety and psychosocial stress for children. The profession of child life has developed to address these specific concerns, with child life specialists using play as a primary tool to mitigate the negative effects of healthcare related experiences. This ground-breaking publication illustrates the profound benefits of play-based interventions in medical settings and is a valuable resource in child life and play therapy training and practice."

Christina D. Brown, MS, CCLS, director, Department of Therapeutic Recreation, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapies, NYU Langone Medical Center, past president, Association of Child Life Professionals

"A valuable resource for students, instructors, and practitioners, this comprehensive handbook demonstrates how the fields of play therapy and child life can effectively engage and help medically-compromised children, adolescents, and their families in a wide variety of medical and health-care settings. The distinguished chapter authors from diverse fields blend theoretical knowledge, up-to-date research, and clinical expertise to illustrate creative and playful methods to support and encourage children’s strengths and resilience in the face of medical challenges."

Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, BCD, RPT-S, distinguished professor of social work emerita, Fordham University

"What a lovely collaborative book on the value of play! Child life and play therapy practitioners have worked together for the benefit of those with medical needs for years. This valuable book will further strengthen this work. The richness of the book is illuminated by the many helpful and insightful case studies. This volume will inform the work of practitioners of many disciplines and will do so to the benefit of medically involved children, adolescents, and their families."

Linda Homeyer, PhD, LPC, RPT-S, professor, Professional Counseling Program, Texas State University

"Handbook of Medical Play Therapy and Child Life is a timely and comprehensive volume offering professionals a unique, sure-to-be-used text! Readers will find it a rich composite filled with strength-based and resiliency-building creative approaches to healing that deal with a wide range of health-related issues. A must-have addition to any professional library!"

Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, MA, RPT-S, director of clinical training and the APA-accredited doctoral internship at Astor Services for Children and Families, founder and president emeritus of the New York Association for Play Therapy

Table of Contents

List of Figures List of Tables About the Editor About the Contributors Foreword O’Connor Foreword Wilson PrologueAcknowledgementsPart I: Medical Play in a Variety of Settings1. Therapeutic Work with Children in Diverse Settings Brown, Dell Clark, and Patte 2. Preschoolers’ Health Care Play: Children Demonstrating their Health Literacy Turner and Dempsey 3. Caring for Children with Cystic Fibrosis in a Hospital Setting in Australia: The Space Where Play and Pain Meet Parson Part II: Medical Play with Unique Health Challenges 4. Play Therapy in Assisting Children with Medical Challenges Crenshaw and Kelly 5. Play Therapy with Children with ASD and Chronic Illness Hull 6. Children, Cancer, and Child Life: Fostering Resiliency through Empowerment Cooper and Hicks 7. Playing with Stigma: Medical Play for Adolescents with HIV Cantrell, Modry-Mandell, Pappagianopoulos, Grill, and Scarlett Part III: The Role of Medical Play in Childhood Medical Trauma 8. Integrative Attachment Informed Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy (IAI CBPT) for Children with Medical Trauma Cavett 9. Trauma-Focused Medical Play Gordon and Paisley 10. Regaining Control: Utilizing Directive Play Therapy to Help Teens with Chronic Health Conditions Barnes Part IV: The Use of Medical Play with Terminal Illness in Children 11. Child-Centered Play Therapy with Children Who Are Dying Opiola and Ray 12. It’s All About the Living: Play-based Experiences with Children Facing End of Life Livingstone Part V: Medical Play Therapy Through a Systemic Lens 13. What About Me? Sibling Play Therapy When a Family Has a Child with Chronic Illness Seymour 14. Family-Oriented Treatment of Childhood Chronic Medical Illness: The Power of Play in Filial Therapy VanFleet 15. Play Partners: Incorporating Parents into Medical Play Practice Wilkins Part VI: Expressive-Creative Research-Driven Practice 16. Medical Makers: Therapeutic Play Using "Loose Parts" Luongo and Vilas 17. With Plush Toys, it Hurts Less: The Effect of a Promote Play to Reduce Children’s Post Surgical Pain Ullán and Belver 18. Playing with Biofeedback: A Practical, Playful Approach to Using Biofeedback in Pediatric Health Steadman and Feeney 19. The Future is Now: Humanoid Robots in Child Life Practice Reynolds Pearson and Beran Appendix: Utilizing Child Life Techniques to Prepare Parents and Children for Well Medical Visit Weiner Index

About the Editor

Lawrence C. Rubin, PhD, is a professor of counselor education at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, where he directs the Mental Health Counseling Program. He is also an online lecturer for the counseling programs at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Dr. Rubin is a practicing psychologist in Fort Lauderdale, where he specializes with children, teens, and their families and is the past board chair of the Association for Play Therapy.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Nursing / Mental Health
MEDICAL / Pediatrics
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Child & Adolescent
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health