During the period of middle childhood, which occurs between the ages of 6–12, children will experience social, emotional, and cognitive developmental changes. Such changes can be challenging for therapists treating children within this age group who may have behavioral and psychological disorders.
Because behavioral and psychological disorders for children and adolescents are multi-layered and complex, often with several overlapping problems, a multifaceted treatment approach is needed.
Dr. Athena A. Drewes' approach to middle childhood play therapy consists of a prescriptive, integrative method. In this video program, Dr. Drewes demonstrates her therapeutic approach with an eight-year-old child who is a victim of bullying in school, has low self-esteem and anger management problems.
In the session, Dr. Drewes checks in with the client, demonstrates a directive approach using play-based techniques that address the presenting problem issues, and then conducts a nondirective, child-led period of time to facilitate relaxation and self-regulation.
Dr. Athena A. Drewes is a licensed child psychologist, certified school psychologist, and registered play therapist and supervisor. She was director of clinical training and APA-accredited doctoral internship at Astor Services for Children and Families, a large multiservice nonprofit mental health agency in New York.
She has more than 30 years clinical experience in working with sexually abused and traumatized children and adolescents in school, outpatient, inpatient and foster care settings. Her treatment specialization is working with complex trauma, sexual abuse, and attachment issues utilizing an integrative play therapy approach.
Her theoretical approach is based on psychodynamic, cognitive–behavioral, attachment and systemic theories that inform her work.