Techniques of Child Therapy, Coursework Example
The subjects of the four essays were reviewed. Reflective functioning and its correlation to attachment theory were explored. The manner by which reflective functioning is optimized by therapists who endeavor with the parent and the child was explored. The benefits which are derived from the application of reflective functioning with regards to the well-being of children were explored. The perspective of the benefits child centered play therapy in comparison to the disadvantages of child centered play therapy was examined. In addition, the parent centered therapeutic approach was evaluated. The parent focused models with regards to the acknowledgement of the child’s symptoms were debated. Finally, the approaches applied by Deri and Sapountzis in addition to their points of concurrency were delineated. The perspectives of Altman (1997), Chetnik (2000), Fraiberg et al.(1975), Frankel (1998), Jacobs (2006), Schaefer (1993), Slade (1994), Thorndike and Thorndike- Christ (2010) were applied in the research.
Attachment theory has been transformed from the theoretical perspective of social and affective development into an elaborate design for the early intervention of clinicians in the relationships of the parent and child (Frankel, 1998). The clinical interventions which are based on attachment are beginning to thrive. Notwithstanding, the framework for the clinical based intervention with regards to children in the pre pubertal stages is deficient. Reflective functioning is the mental operation that provides organization of the experiential knowledge that is correlated with behaviors in the context of the constructs of the mental states (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
Reflective functioning pertains to the knowledge and the quality of experiences which provide the background for specific emotions and beliefs, of the probable behaviors assuming knowledge of the desires and the beliefs. These constructs are pertinent with regards to the anticipated transactional correlation between the affective states and beliefs. In addition, reflective functioning pertains to the quality of specific developmental stages or relationships. The main point of reflective functioning is not that the patient should be able to detail the capacity of being able to articulate these affective states, desires and beliefs theoretically (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
People are distinct to the degree where they exceed the application of the observable phenomena in order to provide explanation for proprietary actions, beliefs and desires or the beliefs, actions and desires of others. The guideline for the elevated level of cognitive ability is a significant determinant with regards to the individual distinctions in selfhood and self-organization. The perspective of the self includes responsibility, liberty, independence and self-consciousness. The intended posture, which incorporates the unconscious irrational motivations details the behavior of the self and formulates a continuity of self-experiences which is the foundation of the structure of the self (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The child therapist concomitantly applies the reflective functioning theories to the parent and the child by exploring the mental condition of the caregiver with the goal of enabling the child to encounter themselves with a mentalization that is encouraged by the intentions, beliefs and feelings. The play therapist also engages in role play with the child. The role play provides meaning to the therapeutic games. Fonagy & Target (1996) detailed that in the conventional development of a two to five year old’s reflective functioning, there is a migration from the paired mode of gaining experiential knowledge to mentalization (as cited in Frankel, 1998). When the child reaches the ages of three to four years old, the clinicians realize that reflective functioning is manifested by a pair of modes of correlating the internal circumstances with the external circumstances (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The clinician realizes that when the child is in a somber mindset, the child expects that the internal anticipations of the exterior environment will correlate to the external reality. Consequently, the accumulation of the subjective experiential knowledge will be altered in order to correspond with the information that is entering from the environment. The clinician realizes that when the children are engaged in pretend play, the child is cognizant that the internal subjective experience does not correlate to the external reality. In children who have victimized by traumatic experiences, the conflict and the intensively magnified emotions could derive an incomplete failure of integrating the internal and external experiences. As a result, the pretend play is converted into the psychically equivalent way of experiencing reality (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
Considering that mentalization may not be a completely assertive experience for the child, mentalization enables the developing child to gain an increased comprehension of intricate emotions, derive an assertive perception of adult moral sensibility and social interactions. Reflective functioning is advantageous to the children in the manner that it assist the child to gain a perception of the consequences that are the result of actions, create plans and gain insight from proprioceptive feedback (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
At the core of the child centered play therapy perspective is the disturbed child who is empowered with freedom within the parameters that the play therapist facilitates with the objective of being able to conduct an exploration of proprioceptive sentiments and concepts about others and the self that are derived from the play activities (Slade, 1994). There is a distinct experience that is derived from engaging in play with parents, friends or siblings. The relationship that is formed with the therapist enables the production of a particular environment (Schaefer, 1993). The child is enabled to experience self-direction, self-responsibility, decision making and change while reaching resolutions with regards to inner conflicts and emotional challenges. There is a natural model of communication that takes place as an outcome of spontaneous play. The empathy and direction provided by the play therapist provides the child with an enhanced dimension (Chetnik, 2000).
The child is enabled with the opportunity of creating a relationship with the play therapist where the child is empowered with the capacity of addressing the conscious and unconscious issues from the past and present that exert influence over the child during the session (Frankel, 1998). The child is c facilitated with the ability of having their inner resources made available within the framework of the therapeutic association in order to cause change and growth (Altman, 1997).
In the child centered play therapy model, play is the main means of communication and speech is the secondary form of communicating (Altman, 1997). The child centered play therapy model is most effective for children who range from three to sixteen years old. The child centered therapeutic play model is founded upon the attention to the developmental needs of the child. The child is supported in visualizing experiences from the past by means of symbolic and sensory play. The child is provided with positive affect which enables the production of a perception of self-administration over the environment (Altman, 1997; Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
There may be insecurity expressed by the parents with regards to the effectiveness of play therapy. It is advisable for the parents to convene with the play therapist. The shortcoming of play therapy is conducting the play therapy session while the child is presently being abused or neglected. The play therapist would be in essence co9lluding with the abuser or neglectful caregiver and attempting to make the child adapt to the current situation, the play therapy session are usually conducted subsequent to conclusion of the abusive or neglectful situations. This is the reason that the emotional stability that is manifested by the parent or caregiver is one of the essential elements with regards to the effectiveness of the play sessions. In the event that the play therapists assess the parent or caregiver to be emotionally stable and accessible, filial play therapy may be recommended (Fraiberg et al., 1975; Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
Filial play therapy is one of the therapeutic modalities that have reserved the greatest amount of empirical review. The child is facilitated with endeavoring with the caregiver or parent. The caregiver or the parent is frequently the most significant person in the child’s life. Consequently, the involvement of the parent or caregiver is one of the qualities that can make a significant distinction in the effective mature of play therapy (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The coping strategies which are applied by children have been categorized in distinct manners. There are approaches and confrontational techniques in which the patient seeks to administrate the stressful circumstance. In addition, there are avoidance techniques where the patient seeks the potential of escaping from the problem. The parent based model is incorporated as a social and ecological quality that has a direct influence on the coping strategies that are applied by the children (Fraiberg et al., 1975; Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The rearing practices that are applied by the parents affect the socialization skills of the child. The distinct types of parental behaviors that are applied in child rearing are demandingness and responsiveness. These two perspectives of parent based rearing are instrumental in problem directed coping in preadolescent and adolescent populations. The qualities of familial conflicts and cohesion are instrumental in the manner that the children are able to adapt to stressful events (Jacobs, 2006; Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The families that have a higher level of cohesion transmit a perception of security to the child. Families that have elevated levels of conflict convey lower senses of security. Attachment theory infers that the children who have a greater perception of security will interact with the environment in a more active manner. The quality of demandingness and responsiveness in parent rearing methods is perceived as being the most therapeutic and change producing factors (Jacobs, 2006; Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The perspectives that are proposed by Deri and Sapountzis infer the successful therapeutic interventions which are presented at the beginning stages of childhood development have the potential of being achieved by convening with the parents during the early stages of development. The two therapists have a mutual perspective with regards to the treatment interventions that are directed toward the neurological and biological factors that influence behavior (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The two authors have a consensus on the integration of the neurological and biological determinants of the childhood experience of the patients in addition to incorporating the information derived into the interpersonal domains. Deri’s work is focused upon the manner where the elements of familial dynamics, behavior and temperament are influential in the development of children. Deri details that these qualities may have neurological and biological origins. Deri continues by detailing that the behavioral manifestations which have co-morbidities with the abnormal cerebral based anomalies have the potential of causing extremely elevated levels of anxiety and guilt in the parents which have the characteristics of aggravating the behavioral challenges manifested by the child (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
Sapountzis takes a similar point of view with regards to the lack of attention that is given with regards to the parents influence over the children’s challenges. Sapountzis goes further to explain that the manner by which the parents experience anxiety with regards to the application of rearing styles have the quality of aggravating the child’s behavioral condition and increase the potential of the child experiencing adverse self-representations (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The two authors have similarities with regards to empowering the parents by means of observation. The two authors perceive to distinct degrees the effect of the child’s behavioral disorder on the emotional well-being of the parents. The perspective expressed by Deri is directed towards the vulnerabilities of the child, whereas the perspective expressed by Sapountzis is focused on the susceptibilities of the parent (Thorndike & Thorndike-Christ, 2010).
The clinician realizes that when the child is in a somber mindset, the child expects that the internal anticipations of the exterior environment will correlate to the external reality. Consequently, the accumulation of the subjective experiential knowledge will be altered in order to correspond with the information that is entering from the environment. The clinician realizes that when the children are engaged in pretend play, the child is cognizant that the internal subjective experience does not correlate to the external reality. In children who have victimized by traumatic experiences, the conflict and the intensively magnified emotions could derive an incomplete failure of integrating the internal and external experiences. As a result, the pretend play in which the child engages is converted into the psychically equivalent way of experiencing reality.
Altman, N. (1997). The case of Ronald: Oedipal issues in the treatment of a seven- year – old boy. Psychoanal. Dial., 7: 725- 739.
Chetnik, M. (2000). 3 The central role of play. In M. Chetnik (Ed.), Techniques of child therapy: Psychodynamic strategies (2nd edition) (pp.48- 65). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Fraiberg, S., Adelson, E. & Shapiro, V. (1975). Ghosts in the nursery: A psychoanalytic approach to the problems of impaired infant- mother relationships. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychology, 14: 387- 421.
Frankel, J. B. (1998). The play’s the thing: How the essential processes of therapy are most clearly seen in child therapy. Psychoanal. Dial. 8: 149- 182.
Jacobs, L. (2006). Parent- centered work: A relational shift in child treatment. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 5(2): 226- 239.
Schaefer, C. E. (1993). 1 What is play and why is it therapeutic? In C. E. Schaefer (Ed.), The therapeutic powers of play (pp. 1- 15). Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
Slade, A. (1994). 5 Making meaning and making believe: Their role in the clinical process. In A. Slade and D.P Wolf (Eds.), Children at play: Clinical and developmental approaches to meanings and representations (pp. 81- 107). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Thorndike, R. M., & Thorndike- Christ, T. M (2010). Measurement and evaluation in psychology and education (8th edition).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
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