Mental Health Occupational Therapy
This delightful book gives an informative and comprehensive introduction to developmental play therapy and the importance of play for children's health and healing. Easy to read and very accessible for all levels of experience, this book is packed full of practical ideas and clinical examples - a pleasure to read.
Sue Jennings has done it again! This coherent introduction to the world of Playtherapy will absorb and fascinate with tales of dinosaurs and tractors. Anyone interested in Playtherapy will find this book invaluable: it demystifies, provides a structure for Playtherapy provision and guidance to reassess current practice. It is illustrated with personal and professional examples. Well researched and referenced, the book dives into fundamentals of Playtherapy and continues to develop the "Playtherapy Method" focusing on detailed observation of children at play. Conflicting theories are discussed as to whether orientation and interpretation are appropriate approaches to Play. Sue Jennings tries to demonstrate an empathetic response to play from the child's perspective. What will be particularly useful to both existing and novice Dramatherapists is the way the author has structured the book to describe the Playtherapy method by breaking down its structure into understandable bite sized pieces that provide a foundation linking theory to practice. The "Embodiment-Projection-Role" methodology encapsulates the concepts of understanding everyday and dramatic reality which develops as the child matures. Moving from physical and sensory awareness i.e. Embodiment to increased interaction with the outside world Projection, when the child is able to engage in playing make believe and taking on roles the final stage of Role is developed. There is also some final discussion on the value of observed play, and the responsibility of parents and carers to lose their own inhibitions and allow themselves to play freely. Acknowledgement of this skill is not new, but adults often need reminding of the value of play. It can take practice!
This book is aimed at anyone with an interest in the symbolic and problem-solving value of children's play and as such it offers a comprehensive guide to playtherapy as well as suggestions for further reading. But it is more than that. Jennings is a practitioner, teacher and author. She focuses on the child and the therapist rather than trying to impress the reader with jargon. Her potted guides to different models of child development and methodologies (including her own) are particularly useful and she is not afraid to highlight the strengths and weaknesses she sees in each. What comes through repeatedly is that there can be no rigid recipes for interpretation. She suggests that we need to view children through a wide-angled lens, seeing what they are doing rather than imposing our thoughts on them. This makes her an ideal introduction for playworkers seeking an introduction to playrtherapy.