Category Archives: Articles

Play Therapy

Play therapy is a form of counseling or psychotherapy that uses play to communicate with and help people, especially children, to prevent or resolve psychosocial challenges. This is thought to help them towards better social integration, growth and development, emotional modulation, and trauma resolution. Play therapy can also be used as a tool of diagnosis. A play therapist observes a client playing with toys (play-houses, pets, dolls, etc.) to determine the cause of the disturbed behavior. The objects and patterns of play, as well as the willingness to interact with the therapist, can be used to understand the underlying rationale for behavior both inside and outside of therapy session.1 The Association for Play Therapy defines play therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”

More simply put, child play therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child – play.  Licensed mental health professionals therapeutically use play to help their clients, most often children ages three to twelve years, to better express themselves and resolve their problems.2 Therapeutic play, (including play therapy), is a well established discipline based upon a number of psychological theories. Research, both qualitative and quantitative shows that it is highly effective in many cases. Recent research by Play Therapy UK, an organization affiliated to Play Therapy International, suggests that 71% of the children referred to play therapy will show a positive change.3

Play Therapy

Sources

 

  1. Paulina F. Kernberg; Saralea E. Chazan; Lina Normandin (1998). “The Children’s Play Therapy Instrument (CPTI): Description, Development, and Reliability Studies”. The Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research. 7 (3): 196–207. PMC 3330503Freely accessible. PMID 9631341
  2. http://www.a4pt.org/?page=whyplaytherapy
  3. http://playtherapy.org/Helping-Children/About-Play-Therapy
  4. image http://www.a4pt.org/resources/resmgr/images/2016.APT

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel. It is used to help treat a wide range of issues in a person’s life, from sleeping difficulties or relationship problems, to drug and alcohol abuse or anxiety and depression. CBT works by changing people’s attitudes and their behavior by focusing on the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes that are held (a person’s cognitive processes) and how these processes relate to the way a person behaves, as a way of dealing with emotional problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be thought of as a combination of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy emphasizes the importance of the personal meaning we place on things and how thinking patterns begin in childhood. Behavioral therapy pays close attention to the relationship between our problems, our behavior and our thoughts. Most psychotherapists who practice CBT personalize and customize the therapy to the specific needs and personality of each patient.1

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is heavily based on CBT with one big exception: it emphasizes validation, or accepting uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and behaviors instead of struggling with them. By having an individual come to terms with the troubling thoughts, emotions or behaviors that they struggle with, change no longer appears impossible and they can work with their therapist to create a gradual plan for recovery. The therapist’s role in DBT is to help the person find a balance between acceptance and change. They also help the person develop new skills, like coping methods and mindfulness practices, so that the person has the power to improve unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Similar to CBT, individuals undergoing DBT are usually instructed to practice these new methods of thinking and behaving as homework between sessions. Improving coping strategies is an essential aspect of successful DBT treatment.2


Sources

 

  1. http://psychcentral.com/lib/in-depth-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/
  2. http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Psychotherapy
  3. CBT image: http://healanxiety.net/five-effective-talking-therapies-for-anxiety/
  4. DBT image: http://www.ibpf.org/blog/dbt-and-me

EMDR

According to the EMDR International Association, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.1 EMDR is an evidence-based psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, successful outcomes are well-documented in the literature for EMDR treatment of other psychiatric disorders, mental health problems, and somatic symptoms. The model on which EMDR is based, Adaptive Information Processing (AIP), posits that much of psychopathology is due to the maladaptive encoding of and/or incomplete processing of traumatic or disturbing adverse life experiences. This impairs the client’s ability to integrate these experiences in an adaptive manner. The eight-phase, three-pronged process of EMDR facilitates the resumption of normal information processing and integration. This treatment approach, which targets past experience, current triggers, and future potential challenges, results in the alleviation of presenting symptoms, a decrease or elimination of distress from the disturbing memory, improved view of the self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers.2

 

 

EMDR has a broad base of published case reports and controlled research that supports it as an empirically validated treatment of trauma and other adverse life experiences. The Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs Practice Guidelines have placed EMDR in the highest category, recommended for all trauma populations at all times. In addition, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies current treatment guidelines have designated EMDR as an effective treatment for PTSD (Foa, Keane, Friedman, & Cohen, 2009) as have the Departments of Health of both Northern Ireland and Israel, which have indicated EMDR to be one of only two or three treatments of choice for trauma victims. The American Psychiatric Association Practice Guideline (2004) has stated that SSRI’s, CBT, and EMDR are recommended as first-line treatments of trauma.  Most recently, the World Health Organization (2013) has stated that trauma-focused CBT and EMDR are the only psychotherapies recommended for children, adolescents, and adults with PTSD.  Like CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive cognitions related to the traumatic event. Unlike CBT with a trauma focus, EMDR does not involve detailed descriptions of the event, direct challenging of beliefs, extended exposure, or homework.3

EMDR Process

Sources

 

  1. http://www.emdria.org/?page=2
  2. http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.emdria.org/resource/resmgr/imported/EMDRIA%20Definition%20of%20EMDR.pdf
  3. http://www.emdr.com/efficacy/
  4. image: http://www.rumrivercounseling.com/emdr.html