Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Use of the telephone in child play therapy

Spero MH. (1980). Use of the telephone in child play therapy. Social Work. 25 (1), 57-60.

A brief exposition of the use and benefits of supplying a toy telephone in child play therapy settings. Spero begins by remarking that a toy is only as useful in a therapeutic context as the child's willingness to play with it. Thus, despite the potential goldmine of communication in a toy telephone, this is wasted unless the child decides to use it. Having said this, he continues on to highlight the potential uses the toy telephone might be to. A child may hold a conversation with an imaginary party, fantasize a connection with the deceased or unavailable, or even exercise projection by assuming the role of both parties. Four brief case studies are provided to illustrate these potential uses. It is remarked that children will often pretend to phone their therapist (early in therapy) in an attempt to form a connection with them, and that the act of forcibly hanging-up can be a powerful way for reserved children to learn to express their desires and frustrations.

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