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The Healing Power of Play: Working with Abused Children

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  18 reviews
This book describes how therapists can both facilitate constructive play therapy and intervene in posttraumatic play to help children who have been traumatized by abuse or neglect achieve a positive resolution. Traditional techniques of play therapy are reviewed for their application to this population. Throughout, numerous therapeutic aids are described to enhance the chi ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published March 16th 1991 by The Guilford Press (first published March 15th 1991)
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Kellie Kuempel
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really great book with lots of case examples!
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Though a little outdated, this book was really insightful and well written! The case studies were fascinating to read and I feel much more equipped to utilize play in my practice now. Reading this got me really excited to set up my own playroom and learn more about play therapy. :)
Kim Zarins
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a therapist, but anyone who cares about kids will appreciate this book. Play therapy sounds like such a humane way for kids to explore feelings that are too much for words, at least initially. I think what I'll come away with is (1) that kids do communicate what is going on in their lives, but they do so with actions (behavior, play) rather than words, and (2) that play alone is not enough for a child to work through a trauma, but rather (3) that it's the job of the therapist to pay atte ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eliana Gil does a thorough exploration of play therapy with children in her book, The Healing Power of Play. The stories are hard to read and easy to cry over, but sound true when the play therapy is described in detail a a remedy. There is hope of comfort for children who have experienced intense pain.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book on working with traumatized children.
Deborah Woods
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book to re-read. Always relevant.
Em Weissensee
May 16, 2022 rated it did not like it
there’s no point in reading this book nowadays. though the intention is there, the information is incredibly outdated. this book came out when the current DSM was 3.
Sep 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I first read this book as an undergrad when I was writing my Senior Thesis on working with children of Domestic Violence. I recently read it again, or, parts of it, when I started my work as a school based therapist. This book is great at helping to understand the meaning and the metaphor behind kids' play and drawings, a must for anyone working with children therapeutically. It current sits on my desk at work for a quick reference. ...more
Ruby Ann
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: play-therapy
This is the book I would recommend to anyone who is curious about play therapy. I like that Gil offer a concise history and explanation of the different theories and practices that inform play therapy. Her explanation of the difference between directive and non-directive play therapy is especially helpful. The case presentations at the end show how the theory can be best applied in therapeutic sessions. From now on, I know I'll be thinking "WWEGD?" (What Would Eliana Gil Do?) ...more
May 02, 2009 rated it liked it
It took me months to finish this because I got bored halfway through. For someone who is familiar with play therapy, the first part is too general and unhelpful. I regained interest in the second half for the case studies.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: clinical
Great refresher in play therapy strategies. Nicely organized research, good play tips, materials suggestions and some case studies that elucidate possibilities while in session with kids who have suffered complex trauma.
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Gil is a pioneer in Play Therapy techniques especially dealing with the non-directives forms of therapy. I thought this book was interesting especially for those that are looking to learn more about play and how it could help traumatized children project thier true potential.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really great for anyone working with kids. Especially Social Workers. Clinical examples are very real,but really great learning opportunities.
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psych-reference
Pretty good. Read it for class. Has some basic info about play therapy with abused children, then several case studies. Most of these were pretty depressing, yet hopeful.
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Helpful. Good case studies.
Joan Friedrich
Highly recommended for counselors/social workers/psychologists intending to provide play therapy for children.
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