By Sandra Walker Russ
Baby psychotherapy is in a kingdom of transition. at the one hand, fake play is a massive instrument of therapists who paintings with kids. at the different, a mounting refrain of critics claims that play remedy lacks confirmed therapy efficacy. those court cases aren't invalid. medical examine has basically all started.
vast reviews by way of developmental researchers have, notwithstanding, strongly supported the significance of play for kids. a lot wisdom is being gathered concerning the ways that play is interested by the advance of cognitive, affective, and character techniques which are an important for adaptive functioning. even if, there was a yawning hole among learn findings and invaluable feedback for practitioners.
Play in baby improvement and Psychotherapy represents the 1st attempt to bridge the space and position play remedy on a less attackable empirical beginning. Sandra Russ applies refined modern figuring out of the position of play in baby improvement to the paintings of psychological future health execs who're attempting to layout intervention and prevention courses that may be empirically evaluated. by no means wasting sight of the complicated difficulties that face baby therapists, she integrates medical and developmental examine and concept right into a accomplished, updated assessment of present techniques to conceptualizing play and to doing either healing play paintings with childrens and the overview that unavoidably precedes and accompanies it.
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Extra info for Play in child development and psychotherapy : toward empirically supported practice
An important question is whether expression of affect in play will immediately impact creativity. Russ and Kaugars (2000–2001) conducted a study with first- and second-grade children that manipulated affect in play and investigated the effects on creativity. Eighty children were randomly assigned to one of four groups: a happy puppet play group; angry puppet play group; free play with puppets group; or puzzle group. The main finding, contrary to prediction, was that there was no effect for experimental condition on divergent thinking.
Toys that leave much room for individual expression are most appropriate for play therapy. Examples of relatively unstructured toys and material are: clay, crayons, cars, trucks, puppets, dolls, doll houses, and Legos. Games such as checkers do not encourage free expression, and are not ideal for traditional play therapy. I often ask the child for suggestions of other toys that might be useful and encourage them to bring toys in from home. Different children use different media for expression, and it is important to have a variety of items and to individually tailor what is available.
However, the results of these two studies suggest that the mere expression of emotion in play is not related to an understanding of emotions or to empathy. Rather, the quality and organization of the fantasy is the more important factor in relating to these criteria. If the therapist is working with a child for whom one goal of therapy is to improve the child’s social functioning, then interventions that foster the fantasy and story-telling in play may be most helpful in developing an imaginative understanding that would help the child to take the perspective of the other (Seja & Russ, 1999a).