Through the stories of individual children, this book illuminates the process of creative, play based child psychotherapy. Each chapter focuses on a specific issue that brings a child or a young person to the therapy room and explores the use and meaning of particular objects and ‘object games’. Through these insightful and dynamic stories, readers will gain a profound understanding of the healing power of play in the context of child psychotherapy. The importance and influence Attachment Theory, through the work of Donald Winnicott, alongside that of Anne Alvarez and Margot Sunderland, is woven through the book. Composite case material, derived from the author’s many years of clinical practice, demonstrates the centrality of the therapeutic relationship, in concert with approaches which foreground play and creativity in bringing about healing. Chapters address childhood challenges such as autism spectrum condition, selective mutism, parental conflict and separation, ADHD, learning disability, loss and bereavement. These individual difficulties are explored with a sensibility towards both the individual predicament, but also the complex and dynamic society in which our understanding and experiences of race, culture, class, migration, gender, disability and sexuality are in constant evolution. This demonstration of child psychotherapy in action will be of interest to psychotherapists, parents and anyone working to provide emotional support for children in schools, nurseries and other settings.
Acknowledgments About the Author Introduction 1. Samina: A game of Jenga/ Beginnings 2. Jake: Toy soldiers in the desert/ Children who are hard to reach 3. Zara: A life-size soft toy cheetah and a cake made of clay/ Supporting children whose parents separate 4. Theo: Players and playgrounds/ Reluctant talkers 5. Hakan: An inflatable globe and the 50 Clip together Felt Pens/ Children who can’t keep still 6. Cristina: A bowl of green paint soup Supporting children who are bereaved 7. Polly: Wet sand and emoji cushions/ Therapy for children with learning disabilities 8. Jordan and Francesca: A full diary and a giant bean bag/ Moving on from therapy, moving on from childhood References Index Appendix
“Cottis’s illustrations and explanations of how a Child Therapist works flow seamlessly from events and processes in the session with the child and then, quite naturally, the drama of the session takes over – so the reader is never bored , always pulled along by the narrative, yet ever more informed. This is a beautiful book, describing beautiful work.” – Anne Alvarez, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and author of The Thinking Heart “This is a wonderful and engaging book. Tamsin is the therapist you'd want every child to have. I learnt so very much.” – Dr. Susie Orbach, Psychoanalyst and author of Fat is a Feminist Issue, The Impossibility of Sex, and Bodies About