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Spiel, S. Lombardi, K. DeRubeis-Byrne, L. (2019). Treating Traumatized Children: Somatic Memories and Play Therapy. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 18(1):1-12.

(2019). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 18(1):1-12


Treating Traumatized Children: Somatic Memories and Play Therapy

Shira Spiel, M.A., Karen Lombardi, Ph.D. and Laura DeRubeis-Byrne, M.A.

Drawing on psychoanalytic theories of infant development and children’s preverbal memories, this article explores the somatic memories in young children who experienced trauma and the level interventions necessary to facilitate the transformation of these traumas from concrete to symbolic representations. The clinical case of a 3-year-old boy who experienced hospitalizations and multiple surgeries prior to the age of 2 is used to illustrate the efficacy of play therapy for traumatized children. We argue that children do remember traumas from their infancy, and interventions geared toward re-enacting the traumas through play are necessary to help these children symbolize their experiences and alleviate their trauma symptoms.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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