Child-Centered Healing: Trauma Processing in the Playroom

Nov 9, 2023

In this episode of the Play Therapy Podcast, I address a question from Marisol, a newcomer to play therapy, who’s working in a community impacted by a traumatic school shooting incident. We delve into understanding trauma in the playroom, emphasizing that the child-centered approach remains consistent even with kids who have experienced trauma. Exploring nuances in handling recent traumatic events versus a history of trauma, I highlight the importance of building trust and rapport with these children, who might be slower to establish connections due to guardedness for self-preservation. Stressing the child’s autonomy, I discuss how kids naturally bring forth trauma when they’re ready, guiding their healing process through play. I outline methods to support kids processing trauma, emphasizing the significance of providing a safe space and unconditional acceptance in the playroom.

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  • Cochran, N., Nordling, W., & Cochran, J. (2010). Child-Centered Play Therapy (1st ed.). Wiley.
  • VanFleet, R., Sywulak, A. E., & Sniscak, C. C. (2010). Child-centered play therapy. Guilford Press.
  • Landreth, G. L. (2002). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (2nd ed.). Brunner-Routledge.
  • Bratton, S. C., Landreth, G. L., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S. R. (2006). Child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) treatment manual: A 10-session filial therapy model for training parents. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Benedict, Helen. Themes in Play Therapy. Used with permission to Heartland Play Therapy Institute.
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