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.”