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Piers, M.W. (1962). Group Psychotherapy with Children. The Theory and Practice of Play Therapy: By Haim G. Ginott. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1961. 208 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 31:266-267.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:266-267

Group Psychotherapy with Children. The Theory and Practice of Play Therapy: By Haim G. Ginott. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1961. 208 pp.

Review by:
Maria W. Piers

Ginott, formerly chief clinical psychologist at the Child Guidance Center in Jacksonville, Florida, has attempted to write a textbook of group play therapy in which are discussed the theory and rationale of this technique, the empirically-determined best composition of a group, the age range and diagnostic qualifications of participants, and optimal conditions and equipment of the setting of treatment. This kind of therapy has, it seems, been little practiced and studied but the limited experience that seems to exist in this field the author makes up for here, in part, by his intuitive understanding of children in general and his sensitivity and common sense in dealing with school-age children in particular. Unfortunately this rich store of personal knowledge has been pressed into a theoretical framework (based primarily on the work of Slavson and the nondirective school) that does not seem to fit. According to Ginott, a therapeutic process necessarily consists of the following steps, in this order: establishment of a therapeutic relationship, evocation of catharsis, derivation of insight, followed by reality testing and the development of sublimation.

Catharsis is not much good to begin with, especially catharsis that precedes insight. Although it has been recognized for some time now as a hurdle rather than a help in the resolution of conflicts, catharsis is emphasized in this book as a curative device. Not so the resolution of conflicts. Actually one wonders whether the author does himself justice.

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