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ERIC Number: EJ817272
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0075-417X
The Use of Board Games in Child Psychotherapy
Oren, Ayala
Journal of Child Psychotherapy, v34 n3 p364-383 Dec 2008
Playing checkers, football or more recently, computer games, is an important part of the latency child's culture. The ability to play games demands a level of emotional development similar to that needed to cope with the emotional/developmental demands characteristic of latency. A game shared by the therapist and child provides a picture of the child's development, patterns of interaction and internalised representations, and is an arena where the therapist can intervene, verbally and non-verbally, in response to the specific needs of the child. The child's desire and need to play clash with the difficulties in coping with the demands of the game. This raises the same issues that children confront during their maturation and interactions with others. Observation and analysis of game play allow the skilled therapist to evaluate the emotional development, internal representations, projections and patterns of relations of children and to intervene to help them with their specific difficulties and conflicts and, importantly, do so in an enjoyable way. The special challenges for the therapist using board games in psychotherapy come from the need simultaneously to observe the game, play it "well", plan actions, regulate the child's anxiety level, maintain a playing atmosphere and deal with transference and countertransference issues--all in the highly tense atmosphere of competition. In the paper, I outline how board games can be used in psychotherapy, focusing on projective and developmental domains. I present a scheme that links emotional development stages and their expressions in game play, and use a case description to illustrate how it can be used in assessment, treatment planning and following progress. Some of the dilemmas faced by the therapist using games in therapy are also discussed. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Counselors
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A