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Play therapy has been the most popular form of child therapy for the past fifty years, but the underlying curative elements have remained mysterious. This pioneering book provides a unique understanding of the process of play therapy by highlighting the therapeutic forces contained in it, such as catharsis, abreaction, self-expression, self-efficacy, role playing, and attachment formation. Clarification of the basic mechanisms of change in play therapy will lead to greater effectiveness for play therapists of all orientations. Jack L. Herman writes:. 'Erik Erikson, quoting William Blake, the eighteenth century mystical poet and artist, tells us that the child has his toys and the old man has his reasons, and that these are the fruits of the two seasons. Charles Schaefer, the eminent author and editor of books on child psychotherapy from an eclectic, pragmatic standpoint, addresses children's natural special aptitude and facility in using their toys and play to express, communicate, and work through their problems by playing them out in the language of play. 'Comprehensive, broad and deep, analytic and penetrating, a subject long debated but never clarified in such exquisite detail, this book by Schaefer and his contributors is something to be studied by every child psychotherapist. Schaefer addresses a subject that has begun to be considered in adult psychotherapy, namely, what might be the curative factors (Frank, Slipp, Rothstein, Meissner). Could there be a common thread of curative factors in adult and child psychotherapy especially observable in the child's play itself? Here Schaefer has developed an intriguing approach, more integrative than simply eclectic. 'Do such seemingly diverse forms of play therapy as psychoanalytic, child centered, relationship, behavioral, cognitive, and social learning contain certain common therapeutic factors, since they all rely on the medium of spontaneous play as the child's main mode of self-expression and communication?
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