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Tip: To sort articles by year…

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After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

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(1956). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. XXV, 1955: Therapeutic Play Techniques—A Symposium, 1954. Pp. 574-626.. Psychoanal Q., 25:620-621.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. XXV, 1955: Therapeutic Play Techniques—A Symposium, 1954. Pp. 574-626.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:620-621

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. XXV, 1955: Therapeutic Play Techniques—A Symposium, 1954. Pp. 574-626.

Dr. Lawrence K. Frank describes the process whereby the child relinquishes direct relations with the world of things and events and learns to live in a world defined by parents in terms of what it may and may not do. The child must learn to do this autonomously when not under adult supervision. Play is the child's way of exploring and experimenting while it establishes relations with the world and itself. Early patterns persist while it learns new ones to replace them. Likewise in play it attempts to resolve its problems and conflicts. The child soon learns to guard its speech, but will usually expose its fantasies and feelings in play. The degree to which the child can utilize symbols in play reveals its capacity for using adult ideas and concepts and symbols, and its ability

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to sustain and defer the release of tensions. Children's play has two alternating phases: activities of an imaginative dramatic character using available objects and demanding adult participation; and the playing out of 'idiomatic' individual perceptions and activities. Children need order and clearly stated boundaries to build their private worlds and accept our patterns of conduct, with permission to react emotionally while they gradually achieve more stable relations with the world.

In Play Techniques and the Integrative Process, Joseph C. Solomon observes that in work with children especially we must take into consideration the current situations that are still causing pain and anxiety. Play can reveal much of the forces impinging upon the child, and the disruptions of play or repetitive play show the current disturbing situations. Play permits enjoyment of pleasures and release of rage caused by frustrations of instinctual pleasure. The child can be relieved of the intensity of its sadistic tendencies by directing them onto a plaything. Abreaction and ventilation of such feelings are therapeutically useful. The child feels better when it can express its feelings, but real crystallization of the ego does not occur until the child can express itself at home and be satisfied with the outcome. 'Secondary integration' in play therapy can be facilitated by the therapist who may, for example, if at the end of play a parent is violently removed from the scene, suggest that the injured parent be taken to a hospital. The child can then undo the injury. The therapist thus helps the child reconcile two opposed motivations and relieve its tension. Play can also help the child translate archaic percepts into verbal concepts.

Dr. Gove Hambidge describes 'structured play therapy', in which the therapist sets up tableaux such as a new baby at the mother's breast or punishment by elders. This therapy is more specific and avoids hours of diffuse, useless activity. The therapist must consider the child's integrative capacity in the face of strong affect, the degree to which the play is frightening, and the capacity of the child's parents and others to cope with its change in behavior under treatment. The method is not used if the child makes adequate progress with the use of spontaneous play or discussion. It is important for the therapist to know when to insist on structured play in the face of resistance of the patient; he may avoid doing so unnecessarily. No type of play is introduced unless there is evidence that its use will help to resolve the problem for which the child's treatment was undertaken. Structured play is always followed by free play. The patient is discharged at the time when he has had greatest therapeutic benefit.

Virginia M. Axline, in a paper on Play Therapy Procedures and Results, discusses what happens in psychotherapy. The child learns how it can function for itself. The child may be unable to communicate many of its thoughts; too much insistence on finding out everything may destroy entirely communication and rapport between therapist and child.

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Article Citation

(1956). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. XXV, 1955. Psychoanal. Q., 25:620-621

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