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Psychodynamic play theory Essay (Critical Writing)


Play therapy is a way of expressing feelings in children especially where stressful events are involved since children are unable to communicate by mouth as effectively as adults. Thus, they make use of play to express their inner feelings and interpersonal conflicts. Psychodynamic play therapy is utilized where a therapist is involved in listening to the details of a child’s play and emphasizes the causes of the child’s experiences in regard to motions of the child’s body.

Therefore, the child is able to express and cope with certain difficulties with the help of the therapist. This is done by the therapist getting involved in the context of the play to help the child identify the difficulty, express it emotionally and engage in solving it. The therapist, therefore, has to interpret the play in a meaningful way and then communicate with the child to elucidate indifferent engagement(s) expressed by the child during the play.

In order for this to work effectively, the play or activity involved should be made interesting to the child. For instance, a therapist may choose to engage in an argumentative puppet conversation with the child. The argument could be based on a topic that is sensitive to the child or one that the therapist had noticed some reaction from the child.

This way, the therapist identifies certain feelings from the child through verbal expression and this puts him/her in the best position to engage in problem solving. This could as well be done as part of the play. For example, the therapist may continue with the puppet conversation but this time, focuses on addressing the solution by telling the child what needs to be done about the problem in discussion.

Psychodynamic play theory functions in finding out the complexity associated with a child’s behavior. Psychodynamic play therapy provides education, ego support, and therapist activity which are not present in the common psychotherapy. The recommendation of this type of therapy implies belief that it applies to children with a certain mental diagnosis and is preferable to other approaches, and assessment that the child is capable thereof.

Psychodynamic play therapy could be linked to treatment of psychological disorders in many children especially autistic ones. Autism represents a syndrome or collection of symptoms originating primarily from a basic neurological deficit in information processing and emotional communication.

Consequently, psychological defenses against states are experienced as a result of those deficits. Lack of crucial socializing experiences during development as a result of both the deficits and the defenses is also associated with autism in children. Moreover, and whatever the origins, the autistic child’s development is profoundly altered, for better or worse, by his or her early environment and the critical interaction with his/her family.

There exists a wide range in the severity of the initial biological predisposition and the early life experiences, such that some children may be born so disabled that parents, however healthily nurturing, make limited impact; whereas other children may be born with a milder innate vulnerability, but encounter significantly damaging parenting.

However the situation, psychodynamic pay therapy may significantly make great impacts in the lives of autistic children by getting to understand how they feel about their conditions. This way, they may be engaged in playful activities to make them feel as part of the society and also to interact with other normal children.

Psychodynamic play theory is not only therapeutic to children, but also educative. Through such plays, children get to learn many things alongside getting therapy and having fun.

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IvyPanda. (2019, March 10). Psychodynamic play theory. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/psychodynamic-play-theory/

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"Psychodynamic play theory." IvyPanda, 10 Mar. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/psychodynamic-play-theory/.

1. IvyPanda. "Psychodynamic play theory." March 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/psychodynamic-play-theory/.


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IvyPanda. "Psychodynamic play theory." March 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/psychodynamic-play-theory/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Psychodynamic play theory." March 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/psychodynamic-play-theory/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Psychodynamic play theory'. 10 March.

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