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Playing for Real.

Richard Bromfield shares the wisdom of his many years as an expert child clinician. As he leads the reader into the child's world of play, the reader experiences the immediacy of a therapy session.

In writing this book, Bromfield drew upon experiences from his private practice and his work at the Harvard Medical School, where he serves as a clinical instructor in psychology. Similar to the works of Virginia M. Axline, this book is also based on transcripts of therapy sessions with abused, unloved, jealous, frightened and withdrawn children who communicate their "hurts" and "needs" through drawing, playing with toys, molding Play Dough and pretending.

Interspersed with each therapy session's dialogue are insightful soliloquies that offet not only the author's feelings and thoughts about the present case, but also memories and asides that facilitate the reader's understanding of why each critical issue is handled in the particular manner described.

The book follows the sequence of play therapy from the "beginning" to "in therapy" to "ending" and "letting go of the little hands." Bromfield's attention to the details of messages camouflaged in the child's play is uncanny. There is an uncomfortable honesty in the pain and intensity of each child's play. This is the child's world, the child's reality.

Bromfield does not lead the reader to assume that being a play therapist is something that comes easily. One chapter, appropriately named "OOPS," humorously discloses several humbling experiences that arose due to the unpredictable and spontaneous nature of working with children.

In the closing paragraph, Bromfield compares the role of a child therapist with that of a parent: both desire to protect and nurture, to mend and support and to compensate somehow for what is missing or lacking. Indeed, the wisdom in this book will certainly complement the efforts of all those who love and care for children.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Gilstrap, Robert L.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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