Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Play Therapy With Abused Children: A Review of the Literature

White, J., & Allers, C. T. (1994). Play Therapy With Abused Children: A Review of the Literature. JOURNAL OF COUNSELING AND DEVELOPMENT. 72 (4), 390.

This article gives an overview of play therapy, identifies and explores seven characteristic behaviors exhibited by abused children, identifies and explores two general themes of play in abused children, and critiques play therapy research. The characteristic behaviors are developmental immaturity, opposition and aggression, withdrawal and passivity, self-deprecating and self-destructive behavior, hypervigilance, sexual behavior, and dissociation. The recurrent themes of play behavior are unimaginative/literal play and repetition/compulsion. Each of these behaviors and themes are elaborated on and special attention is paid to the differences between the behaviors exhibited by sexually abused, physically abused, and neglected children. Lastly, contemporary research is critiqued for its inconsistent definitions, nonstandardized methodologies, and flawed statistical designs.

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