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Of Mice and Metaphors : Therapeutic Storytelling With Children (Paperback) (Jerrold R. Brandell)
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The significant differences in psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and adults have multiple ramifications for the ways in which therapists approach the treatment process. As a general rule, few adolescents and even fewer children express interest in discussing their wishes or conflicts, nor are most very receptive to this idea. Not unrelated, the overwhelming majority of children and adolescents do not usually seek out psychotherapy independently for themselves but, rather, are brought, sometimes quite unwillingly, into treatment by their parents.
There is a fundamental difference in the repertoire of treatment techniques suitable for clinical work with children and adolescents vs. adults. Because children, unlike their adolescent and adult counterparts, have often not achieved full mastery of either spoken language or secondary process thinking, the use of the full adult range of verbalized communications is rarely possible. Thus doll play, puppetry, therapeutic games, modeling, mud and clay, painting and drawing, and other “play” techniques are used either alone or in conjunction with elicited narratives, which in turn involve either direct verbal exchange or communication made via metaphor.
Storytelling comes naturally to children, and author Jerrold Brandell makes it a reciprocal process when he re-visions their stories therapeutically and bounces them back as part of a dynamic storytelling "game." Getting down to cases early on, he models the engagement of a range of struggling youngsters and the reparative interpretation and reconstruction of their narratives. The result will enhance the repertoires of play therapists and child therapists alike.