PLAYING FOR REAL by Richard Bromfield


The World of a Child Therapist
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 A compilation of case histories of children in therapy, from a compassionate and incisive psychologist. Adult or child, we should all be lucky enough to have Bromfield (Psychology/Harvard Medical School) as a therapist. His willingness and ability to understand the emotional turmoil of troubled children and to let them play out their conflicts in his office set an extraordinary standard. ``Play'' is the operative word here. Puppets, dolls, clay, crayons, games, even guns and toy soldiers are the tools that allow psychologists entry into a child's often tumultuous psyche. As the author makes clear, children do not always do what they are expected to do, even with an array of childish treasures before them. On a first visit, seven-year-old Cory scoured the rug for fallen staples; teenaged Judy burrowed down inside her hooded sweatshirt, motionless and speechless for the first hour; fifth-grader Glen covered all the panes on the office's only window. Other patients include a boy diagnosed at school with what used to be called hyperactivity, and a six-year-old girl abused so badly as a toddler that she can only relate to others in a sexual way. More than a collection of readable stories about engaging--and some not so engaging-- patients, this book lays out the case for children's therapy. Along with a discussion of what qualities befit a child therapist--among them, patience and an ability to play--eloquent codicils to each chapter highlight Bromfield's belief that therapy is meant to heal, not to comfort, wounded children. Parents, teachers, and professionals will be informed and reassured by this view of play therapy for real children.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1992
ISBN: 0-525-93461-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992