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A Manual of Dynamic Play Therapy: Helping Things Fall Apart, the Paradox of Play

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A Manual of Dynamic Play Therapy

Helping Things Fall Apart, the Paradox of Play

By Dennis McCarthy, David Crenshaw (Foreword by)

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Format: Paperback, 176 pages
Other Information: Illustrations
Published In: United Kingdom, 15 February 2012
Children will experience natural growth and change throughout their lives. Play, by its very nature, always results in things falling apart, often literally, and children generally find satisfaction in this process of collapse and renewal. This book harnesses the power of the reorganizing process to elicit positive and profound change in children dealing with social, neurological, developmental, health and family issues. The author clarifies the theory behind this innovative play therapy approach, and explains its practical application to a full spectrum of client needs, using inspirational, real-life anecdotes as examples. He also describes the importance of using symbols in play therapy and focuses on ways to enable children to act out their internal aggression in a safe and healthy manner. This will be essential reading for play therapists and other professionals working therapeutically with children and their families.

Table of Contents

Foreword by David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D. Introduction. Part 1: Invoking the Spirit of Play. 1. Paradox: The Essence of Play Therapy. 2. The Roles of the Dynamic Play Therapist: Witnessing, Containing, Provoking, Envisioning. 3. Synchrony and Mirroring. Part 2: Imaginative Play. 4. The Meaning and Necessity of Symbols. 5. Symbols as Vehicles for Emotion. 6. Sand as Vehicle for Symbols. Part 3: Aggressive Play. 7. The Function and Necessity of Aggression. 8. Aggression and the Connection to the Self: Monsters. 9. Aggression and the Connection to Others. 10. Play Materials that Facilitate Healthy Aggression. Part 4: Helping Things Fall Apart. 11. The Mythological Perspective. 12. The Natural World as Evidence. Epilogue: Getting Lost and Finding Ourselves. References. Recommended Reading. Index.

About the Author

Dennis McCarthy is a licensed mental health counselor in New York state and is the director of Metamorfos Institute. He is a psychotherapist working with both children and adults and specializing in sandplay and dream work. Initially trained as a dancer, he weaves the body's innate urge to move into all of his work.

Promotional Information

Harnessing the power of play to elicit profound change in children with social, neurological, developmental and family issues


The book is written in a clear, concise manner, with theory described in a way that is easy to understand, making it effortless for us to read and engage with the te3xt. His illustrative case material is particularly engaging and demonstrates various creative methods. -- BACP Children & Young People The press release states that this book "will be essential reading for play therapists and other professionals". I would add that it would be of great benefit and interest to anyone who works with children of any age group, from the very young to the very old - by which I mean "grown-ups" - or indeed anyone who has children of their own or has ever been a child themselves. -- Fidelity - The Journal for the NCP Dennis McCarthy is a play therapist with 35 years' experience who writes with wisdom, compassion and humour... The book is packed full of practical examples of play therapy in action that McCarthy uses to explain the theoretical underpinnings of his work with children... The delightful illustrations... bring it to life. McCarthy writes passionately, honestly and vividly... I really enjoyed this book, it was hard to put down, and you can't say that of many practice manuals. For anyone who works with children, it will be a riveting read. It is worth checking out McCarthy's earlier books, too. -- Therapy Today 'Dennis McCarthy is a seasoned, masterful play therapist. His insights into children and the complexities of the therapy process are rich and the case presentations are beautifully illustrative of the attunement between therapist and child as they undertake the challenging, sometimes hazardous, and often exciting journey of discovery of self and other through play, image, and symbol. -- From the foreword by David A. Crenshaw, Faculty Associate, Johns Hopkins University, Founder, Rhinebeck Child & Family Center and Clinical Director, Children's Home of Poughkeepsie In the company of monsters and Goddesses, with armies of dragons, snakes and heroines struggling with volcanoes, earthquakes, labyrinths, floods, storms and death rays, you will find (and lose and find) real children's worlds endlessly falling apart and coming together again. In these paradoxical worlds that encompass utter despair and unbridled joy, you will find real change and growth. If you are looking for an honest description of how it feels to witness the transformative and healing power of play, read this book. -- John Robertson, Play Therapist, Scotland

EAN: 9781849058797
ISBN: 1849058792
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 1.5 centimetres (0.24 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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