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Play Therapy

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Compares and contrasts Adlerian play therapy and Gestalt play therapy in terms of goals ...... More...
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Paper Abstract:
Compares and contrasts Adlerian play therapy and Gestalt play therapy in terms of goals, role of the therapist and parents, stages, change, and limitations.

Paper Introduction:
Adlerian Vs Gestalt Play TherapyGoals of Play Therapy One of the most widely accepted approaches for working with youngchildren in the therapeutic milieu is play therapy Daigneault Both Gestalt and Adlerian therapeutic traditions offer approaches to playtherapy PT which share a number of commonalities while neverthelessrepresenting the unique philosophical and practical orientations of eachschool The goal of Gestalt play therapy as described by Oaklander is to establish the I Thou relationship between partners while fosteringthe process of organismic self-regulation through homeostasis on

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153-178.Shen, Y.J. At the same time, they mustuse direct experience as a primary tool to promote awareness in the presenton the part of a child. ReferencesBlom, R. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley.Carroll, F. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 55(3), 288-388.Kottman, T. Daigneault (1999) further states thatthrough encouragement, self-acceptance is nurtured and the child begins toovercome emotional isolation and to express increased interest in socialrelatedness. In Gestalt play therapy, Oaklander (2 1) says that anger isundoubtedly the most difficult emotion for children to deal with andauthentic anger is often not expressed. In both approaches therefore, the therapist isseeking to elicit emotions and feelings from the client.Role of the Therapist The role of the therapist in Adlerian play therapy, according toKottman and Johnson (1993), is to build a strong relationship with theclient through such therapy techniques as tracking, restatement of content,and reflection of feelings. Shen (2 7) pointed out that play therapy in general andGestalt play therapy in particular are focused upon interventional ratherthan preventive or developmental settings. (1999). Theparents are included in the third phase as well as the therapist helps themto acquire Adlerian parenting strategies including recognition of goals ofbehavior, logical consequences, and encouragement. In Adlerian play therapy specifically,Kottman and Johnson (1993) state that the counselor sets limits on thechild hurting himself/herself or others, damaging toys or property, andother destructive behavior. As Oaklander(2 1, p. Adlerian play therapy: A tool for school counselors. (1999). Children are thenoriented to therapy through a series of discrete sessions. The child's verbalizations are not limited andthe counselor always presents the specific limits that will be required inthe playroom, entering into a negotiation process in which counselorsassert limits while recognizing and respecting the child's feelings andpurposes and jointly generating ideas or appropriate behaviors for thechild. In Gestalt play therapy, as described by Oaklander (2 1), therapistswork with parents to establish appropriate contract-boundaries and toassist parents in acquiring the positive attitudes toward parenting thatassist in facilitating positive bonds within the family. Adlerian play therapists base their work on the belief thatall people are socially embedded, goal directed, and creative beings. Woldt & S.M. In essence, as suggested by Blom and Schoeman (2 4), these two approachesto play therapy both emphasize the egalitarian relationship betweentherapist and client.Significance of the Therapist/Child Relationship In both Adlerian and Gestalt play therapies, the child/ therapistrelationship is central to any progress toward problem resolution that willbe achieved. In essence, counselors workingwith Adlerian techniques in play therapy perceive themselves as involved inan egalitarian and not a dominant relationship with the client. (1997). Change occurs as children buildrelationships with therapists and begin to reinvent their own attitudes andbehaviors as a consequence of the encouraging, accepting attitude that thetherapist conveys to the child. In A.L. The goal is to establish and maintain anegalitarian relationship with the child. (2 5). In the fourth stage ofAdlerian play therapy, known as reorientation/reeducation, the therapistworks with the child and the parents so that parents can learn and practicenew behaviors and interactional patterns. Gestalt Play TherapyGoals of Play Therapy One of the most widely accepted approaches for working with youngchildren in the therapeutic milieu is play therapy (Daigneault, 1999).Both Gestalt and Adlerian therapeutic traditions offer approaches to playtherapy (PT) which share a number of commonalities while neverthelessrepresenting the unique philosophical and practical orientations of eachschool. (2 1). & Johnson, V. As described by Reynolds (2 5), Gestalt play therapy callsfor assessing the client's strengths, recognizing that each child developsemotionally and affectively in different ways and is likely to be a uniqueindividual who brings specific needs and strengths to the experiential andprocess Gestalt therapy. The therapistbecomes a partner with the child in moving toward positive change.Limiting Activities According to Blom and Schoeman (2 4), during the therapeuticprocess, Gestalt play therapists must remain aware of their ownrestrictions and experiences in order to limit transfer between themselvesand their clients and to act as persons in their own right. They mustremain aware of the boundaries that distinguish them from the children inorder to prevent emotional over-involvement. 53) puts it, one of the roles of the therapist is "to communicatewith, educate, and involve the parents as much as possible." Parents maytherefore be brought into the therapeutic milieu in this particularapproach as well as in Adlerian play therapy. InGestalt play therapy as described by Blom and Schoeman (2 4), apsychotherapeutic technique is used by the therapist to give the child theopportunity to express feelings verbally or nonverbally through variousforms of creative play. The nextphase focuses on helping the child gain insight into his or her lifestyle.The fourth and final phase focuses on reorienting and reeducating thechild. Gestalt therapy with children. The work is guided by a setof goals which derive from the assessment stage of treatment and moveforward through such processes as identifying the central problems that thechild confronts, the disturbances within the family system, and thedifficulties the child is having in maintaining healthful contact with hisenvironment and other people. (2 1). Integrating the crucial C's into Adlerian play therapy. Snow, Buckley, and Williams (1999) identified four distinct phases orstages of working with a child in Adlerian play therapy. It is important to note that in this process, Kottman and Johnson(1993) note that parental involvement or engagement is important because itis only through facilitating a family-wide recognition of the issues thatare creating problems for or within the child that change can come about.Factors Leading to Change In Adlerian play therapy, Daigneault (1999) states that change occursas children begin to recognize the causes of their problems and to adaptnew behaviors and attitudes to change through play what may be unmanageablein reality to manageable situations. Developmental model using Gestalt play versus cognitive-verbal group with Chinese adolescents: Effects on strengths and adjustment enhancement. First, arelationship is built with the child. The Handbook of Gestalt Play Therapy. Gestalt play therapy, said Shen (2 7), brings about change through anonverbal experiential process that facilitates holistic organismintegration. & Oaklander, V. & Williams, S.C. Children in Gestaltplay therapy environment work to develop a strong sense of self which is aprelude to emotional expression, which Oaklander (2 1) considers animportant step in the healing process. O'Connor & L.M. Case study using Adlerian play therapy. & Schoeman, H. In the fourth phase, known as reorientation/re-education, both the child and the parents practice new behaviors with thetherapist directing such activities. Toman (Eds.) Gestalt Therapy. Experience in overcoming negativeintrojects is important in Gestalt therapy which progresses through avariety of experiences which allow the child to regain those aspects of theself that have been lost. (1999). Vraderman (Eds.) Play Therapy and Practice. (1993). Gestalt play therapy. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 28(1), 42-52.Oaklander, V. Generally, the parents are also orientedtoward therapy according to Carroll and Oaklander (1997), followed by afeedback session in which a treatment plan is developed. Gestalt play therapy positions the therapist as providing a milieuand materials that are conducive to helping children work through aspectsof life that cause them to experience problems (Oaklander, 2 1).Therapists meet their clients as separate individuals who are equal and thetherapist is required to accept the child as he or she presents the selfwithout expectation. Limits within the context of thetherapy are established to prevent destructive, violent or harmfulbehavior, but therapists recognize that they themselves must impose limitson the extent to which they encourage emotional expression so that childrenbecome self-limiting and are able to capitalize upon the experiences gainedin therapy. Gestalt play therapy brings about change by helping childrento recognize boundaries and to develop homeostasis. Belmont, CA: Sage, pp. The progress istoward greater self-knowledge and self-revelation. Oaklander (2 1) states that there are a varietyof creative, expressive, and projective techniques including the use ofgraphic arts, music, dramatics, sensory and body experiences, games, thesand tray, and fantasy that encourage projection and bring about change.Inclusion of Parents in the Process In Adlerian play therapy, Kottman (1999, 2 1) notes that parents areincluded in the therapeutic process in a consultation role during which thetherapist gathers information about the parents and their perceptions ofthe child and the child's behavior, attitudes, and relationships. Journal of Individual Psychology, 55(3), 328-341. International Journal of Play Therapy, 1 (2), 45-55.Reynolds, C. Carroll and Oaklander(1997) make the case, however, that these stages are not necessarilyconsistent across all cases. (2 7). The goal of Gestalt play therapy as described by Oaklander (2 1)is to establish the I/Thou relationship between partners while fosteringthe process of organismic self-regulation through homeostasis on the partof the child. Second, as the relationship isstrengthened, the therapist explores the lifestyle of the child. In K.J. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 55(3), 298-315.Kottman, T. The therapist must be true to himself or herself aswell, able to play, and able to recognize their own feelings and responses. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 32(3), 285-3 5.Snow, M.S., Buckley, M.R. Narrative means to Adlerian ends: An illustrated comparison of narrative therapy and Adlerian play therapy. (2 4). Adlerian play therapy. 184- 2 3.Daigneault, S.D. Both Adlerian and Gestalt play therapists as described by Snow,Buckley, and Williams (1999) are required to set limits for the playroom.The playroom is where therapy occurs and limit-setting is conceptualized asan opportunity for children to develop insight about their behaviors and tolearn about their lifestyles. As Kottman (1999)suggests, Adlerian play therapy initially positions the therapist in stageone as establishing a connection with the child, moving in stage two todevise a treatment plan which engages the family as well as the child andinto phase three where the therapist shares information about the childwith the parents. Adlerian play therapy as described by Kottman (2 1) sees play as ameans for establishing rapport with children, helping children to revealand explore their feelings, desires, and goals, and facilitating theprocess by creating a bond between therapists and the client based onshared fun. In Gestalt play therapy, Oaklander (2 1) says that the therapisttakes a positive stance, is true to himself, and honors what is importantto themselves such as beginning and ending sessions on time. Consequently, there is arecognition in both of these approaches that the child has entered into thetherapeutic relationship accompanied by some problem or problems which canbe aired or accessed through play in a social setting. Therapists must identify for children their own limits andboundaries and take responsibility for setting clear boundaries forchildren as needed.Stages of Therapy Gestalt therapy processes do not prescribe a specific sequence ofsteps or stages (Carroll & Oaklander, 1997). Adlerian Vs. They alsoengage in the play activities in which children participate and interactwith the family as well. International Journal of Play Therapy, 1 (2), 1-12.Kottman, T. New York: John Wiley and Sons, pp. Gestalt play therapy.

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