Working with Children to Heal Interpersonal Trauma
The Power of Play
Copyright Year 2011
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Featuring in-depth case presentations from master clinicians, this volume highlights the remarkable capacity of traumatized children to guide their own healing process. The book describes what posttraumatic play looks like and how it can foster resilience and coping. Demonstrated are applications of play, art, and other expressive therapies with children who have faced such overwhelming experiences as sexual abuse or chronic neglect. The contributors discuss ways to facilitate forms of expression that promote mastery and growth, as well as how to intervene when play becomes stuck in destructive patterns. They share effective strategies for engaging hard-to-reach children and building trusting therapeutic relationships.
Table of Contents
Foreword, Lenore C. Terr
I. The Extent of the Problem and Its Impact
1. Introduction, Eliana Gil
2. A Review of Current Research on the Incidence and Prevalence of Interpersonal Childhood Trauma, Jennifer A. Shaw
3. The Role of Healthy Relational Interactions in Buffering the Impact of Childhood Trauma, Christine R. Ludy-Dobson and Bruce D. Perry
4. Children’s Self-Initiated Gradual Exposure: The Wonders of Post-Traumatic Play and Behavioral Reenactments, Eliana Gil
II. Clinical Responses
5. Silent Grieving in a World without Words: A Child Witnesses His Brother’s Murder, Eliana Gil
6. The Owner of a Broken Heart: The Cumulative Trauma of Surgery and Sexual Abuse, Nicole Erin Jalazo
7. A Hero’s Journey: A Boy Who Lost His Parents and Found Himself, Vincent L. Pastore
8. A Tornado Disrupts the Wedding, to the Relief of the Unwilling Bride: A Girl’s Quest for Healing after Sexual Abuse, Myriam L. Goldin
9. Finding the Treasure Within: Spontaneous Storytelling and the Sandplay Journey of an Emotionally Despairing Girl, Rosalind L. Heiko
10. "Stitches Are Stronger Than Glue": A Child Directs the Healing of Her Shattered Heart, David A. Crenshaw
11. Manny's Story: A Soul Ascending, Eric J. Green
12. "I Am an Artist": A Sexually Traumatized Girl’s Self-Portraits in Paint and Clay, Barbara Sobol
13. The Gift of Time: Helping to Heal through Long-Term Treatment Involving Complex Trauma and Cultural Issues, Athena A. Drewes
14. "This Mommy Has No Milk!": A Neglected Child’s Adaptation to Loss and Hunger, Eliana Gil
15. Play and the Transformation of Feeling: Niki's Case, Eva-Maria Simms
Eliana Gil, PhD, is founding partner of the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, a private group practice in Fairfax, Virginia. She is also Director of Starbright Training Institute for Child and Family Play Therapy. Dr. Gil has worked in the field of child abuse prevention and treatment since 1973. A licensed marriage, family, and child counselor; an approved marriage and family therapy supervisor; a registered art therapist; and a registered play therapy supervisor, she is a former President of the Association for Play Therapy, which honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the author of The Healing Power of Play, Helping Abused and Traumatized Children, and Play in Family Therapy, Second Edition, among many other publications. Originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, Dr. Gil is bilingual and bicultural.
"Play therapy, the oldest and most popular form of child therapy, is widely considered by practitioners to be uniquely responsive to the needs of children who have experienced interpersonal trauma. This volume offers a wealth of information about the effective use of play-based interventions that honor children’s self-healing strategies. From a renowned expert in the field, this is a valuable resource for beginning and experienced therapists who work with child victims of interpersonal trauma, such as abuse and neglect."--Charles E. Schaefer, PhD, RPT-S, Department of Psychology (Emeritus), Fairleigh Dickinson University
"Gil and her contributing authors take us on an amazing journey that captures the creative ways traumatized children find to heal when we meet them in their world, not with language, but with play. The richly detailed cases are filled with unforgettable lessons about how to help children express their private, complex experiences. The book also provides substantial support for those needing to validate the healing power of creative interventions within a trauma-informed context. We will definitely recommend this book to the thousands of professionals the Institute trains yearly. It will be useful for both new and seasoned practitioners."--William Steele, PsyD, MSW, Director, National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children, Starr Commonwealth Institute for Training
"Gil and colleagues provide a warm and insightful description of play-based healing for traumatized children. Compelling case examples illustrate therapeutic principles such as the need to decode children's play behavior and the ways in which play facilitates natural healing processes following trauma. I highly recommend this book for clinicians working with children who have experienced interpersonal trauma--the hope and healing are heartening! As a classroom text, the book would offer students cutting-edge information and clear examples that model advanced clinical skills."--Jennifer Baggerly, PhD, Counselor Education Program, University of South Florida