Illustration from 'A Manual of Dynamic Play Therapy' - a child's monster drawing.

Dynamic Play Therapy in Action – An Interview with Dennis McCarthy (Part 3)

” I hope readers will become less afraid of rocking the boat of authority that urges us to make the child talk in adult terms about what the adult world deems important to them. Rather than having children be obedient patients, I want to encourage us to attempt in our work to foster true self-possession, knowing how very hard it is to achieve. I urge us all to fight the tendency to negate emotion, to negate aggression, to negate anything and everything that pulsates with life and therefore stirs things up.”

Dynamic Play Therapy, Harnessing the power of collapse and renewal – An Interview with Dennis McCarthy (Part 2)

“With rare exceptions, the academic and professional world doesn’t support a dynamic approach to play therapy (or often the use of play in therapy at all). There is an ever-greater thrust to pathologize the child and the family and this is often where the therapist/therapy stops: diagnosis leads to stasis. This needn’t be so. We can and should have an understanding of what is going on in the child and in their life, but unless we then engage the child in real play, we have not accomplished much. Children need to be allowed to be children and speak their language not ours.”

Helping Things Fall Apart, The Paradox of Play – An Interview with Dennis McCarthy (Part 1)

“The deeper [sand]box, with its capacity for burying and sinking and erupting, fit the overall view I have developed which I call Dynamic Play Therapy. My approach is interactive and encourages and even provokes what I see as contained wildness in the service of healthy ego development and a natural sense of self-regulation. The work and my thinking about it still continue to evolve. Even as I write these words new ideas are surfacing based on sessions this week with several children. … My interest has been to understand how children experience their lives and best speak about them, knowing that their language is fundamentally different than ours as adults. They speak in images just as we dream in images. So I spend my days offering them materials and a safe space in which to speak thus.”

Dramatherapy and Family Therapy: Essential Pieces of the Multi-Agency Jigsaw in Education – An Interview with Penny McFarlane and Jenny Harvey

“…historically, the intervention for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties has generally been based on behaviour improvement on a cognitive level rather than looking at the meaning behind the behaviour. For a school to accept that a deeper understanding and interpretation of behavioural difficulties is necessary to meet a child’s needs on a sustainable level is a big leap of faith. Therapy is about change and the capacity to maintain changes, and this book can help allay the fears that prevent schools from embracing this mode of intervention.”

Supporting children on their journey through home placement to adulthood – An Interview with Dr. Vera Fahlberg

“It is important that professionals in the field of Child Welfare come to grips with the fact that their job is not to ‘save’ children or families but to help them cope in the best possible way with the realities of their life experiences. In making major life decisions on behalf of clients – such as decisions about moves, reunification, etc. – it is important to realize that there is rarely an absolute right vs. wrong decision. … The goal is to implement the decision in a way that minimizes the negatives and accentuates the positives, and that helps the child continue to successfully meet challenges in his own individual journey through life.”

Helping adopted children develop secure attachment using Family Attachment Narrative Therapy (FANT) – An Interview with Denise Lacher

“Our journey [into Family Attachment Narrative Therapy (FANT)] really started when an adoptive parent commented, “I wish I could rewind the tape on this kid and start his life all over again.” That statement led to a story about what it could have been like and should have been like for that child – re-doing the narrative of his life.”