Written by two authors with a combined experience of more than fifty years in the residential treatment of severely aggressive-and often traumatized-children, this book has proven invaluable to new as well as seasoned child practitioners. The chapters cover the nuts and bolts of play therapy with this extremely challenging clinical population, including the therapeutic alliance, aims of play therapy with aggressive children, setting limits on destructive and obtrusive behaviors, typical play themes of aggressive children, and developing distancing and displacement through playful action and through teaching, modeling, and structuring action play. Other chapters cover such topics as: how to create more mature defenses and calming strategies; the role of interpretation; the use of spontaneous drawings as a bridge to fantasy play; specific drawing techniques to create access to the inner world of children; how to teach and model pro-social skills and the language of feeling; and how to facilitate affect expression and modulation, contained reenactment of trauma, and children's ability to mourn tangible as well as intangible, unacknowledged and invisible losses. Later chapters cover the therapeutic process and techniques to facilitate termination. The authors introduce the Play Therapy Decision Grid, which is intended to guide the therapist into the levels of therapy best suited for the child at any given point based on the child's resources and the anxiety engendered by the therapy.
"Aggressive children challenge us as therapists and human beings in ways that reach deep into our culture and our psyche. David Crenshaw and John Mordock offer a rare blend of intelligent empathy and practice-grounded wisdom in meeting these challenges. Every practitioner, from the novice to the expert, can learn from them."—James Garbarino, Ph.D., Maude C. Clarke Chair in Humanistic Psychology at Loyola University Chicago
David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D. ABPP, is the Founding Director of Rhinebeck Child and Family Center, LLC in Rhinebeck, New York. He is Board Certified in Clinical Psychology and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. He is the author of Bereavement (now in its third printing), A Guidebook for Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy: A Projective Drawing and Storytelling Series, Evocative Strategies in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and a forthcoming book, Healing Paths to a Child's Soul.
John B. Mordock, Ph.D., ABPP, was employed by the Astor Home for Children for 28 years. In his last position, he directed the agency's community mental health programs, helping to develop a full continuum of services for emotionally disturbed children and their families. He is the author of twelve books, including a textbook on exceptional children.