How do children emotionally heal and regain equilibrium after suffering trauma? How do adults understand and help them in a therapeutic relationship? These questions are at the heart of Violet Oaklander's approach to play therapy and her methods for training adults to work with children and adolescents. In this text, Peter Mortola uses qualitative and narrative methods of analysis to document and detail Oaklander's work in a two-week summer training attended by child therapists from around the world.
"As a Gestalt trainer in Play Therapy for the past 20 years, I have trained more than two thousand students in the Oaklander way. Peter Mortola's research addresses the universal aspects of her approach - an approach that helps children make sense out of confusion regardless of whether they are living in Santa Barbara or Cape Town."
- Hannie Schoeman, Ph.D., The Centre for Play Therapy and Training, South Africa
"The way Peter Mortola describes his own ten years of experience working with Violet Oaklander, he opens up another window for those who have had the rich group experience with her - and a brand new window for those who haven't."- Cassiana Silva Castro
"Thank you, Peter, for writing this book. I hope those of you who read it will gain an appreciation of what it takes to create and run such a training program, as well as insights into the complexity of teaching adults to learn how to work with children and adolescents in a vital and effective way." - Violet Oaklander
"Endorsed by a Forward from Oaklander herself, the book left me with this first impression: It is written in a spirit of generosity and open-heartedness. The book provides a fascinating insight into the process and methods of a Gestalt-informed training with its emphasis on personal involvement and experiential learning integrated with theory. I think the strength of this book is the insight it gives us into the materials and methods of a well-loved Gestalt practitioner at the height of her powers. There is wisdom and knowledge here for effective communication with children and young people in therapeutic work." - Christine Stevens, Ph.D., in Gestalt Review, Vol 11, Number 3
"Mortola's mix of lively description and personal reflection makes for an engaging, readable style. The work is helpfully illustrated by photographs, drawings and tables, and there are plenty of insightful case studies from Oaklanders' own work, as well as the attendees' own experiences of the training course. I found it extremely practical and it has given me much food for thought. I would certainly recommend it to those working with children and adolescents." - Deborah Endersby, in Counselling Children and Young People, September, 2007
"I would recommend this book to those who practise with both young and older clients as, although the content would mainly be of use to practitioners who work with children and adolescents, there are also examples of how adults can benefit from Gestalt play methods."
-Pat Havell in BACP North London Magazine, February 2009
Foreword IntroductionWeek One1. Day One: Monday - Building a Relationship2. Day Two: Tuesday - Making Contact3. Day Three: Wednesday - Experiencing the Self4. Day Four: Thursday - Working with Aggressive Energy and Anger5. Day Five: Friday - The Music ExperienceWeek Two6. Day Six: Monday - Sand Tray Day7. Day Seven: Tuesday - Stories, Metaphors, and Puppets8. Day Eight: Wednesday - Practicum Day9. Day Nine: Thursday - Self Nurturing Work10. Day Ten: Friday - Closing ActivitiesEpilogue: Clay, Culture, and Age: The Oaklander Approach in South AfricaAfterword: