Polyvagal Power in the Playroom: A Guide for Play Therapists

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Author: Paris Goodyear-Brown (Editor), Lorri A. Yasenik (Editor)

Publisher: Routledge

Published: 26/03/24

ISBN: 9781032393667

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Polyvagal Power in the Playroom shows therapists how to treat children using play therapy to address the hierarchy of autonomic states. What do children need and how do play therapists purposefully use the principles of play to increase the feeling states of safety and regulation? Step inside the playroom and discover how trained play therapists are addressing treatment using polyvagal theory when working with children and teens.

The book is organized into three parts:

1. Interruptions explores developmental derailments brought about by relational betrayals such as domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and attachment ruptures implicated in a myriad of adverse childhood experiences. In these cases, the neuroception of safety scaffolded through “good enough” rhythms of healthy caregiver/child interactions is either compromised through a thousand relational cuts (parental addiction or parental mental illness) or abruptly ended (divorce, death or incarceration of a parent).

2. Happenings explores events that involve an external intrusion, such as natural disasters, wars, and pandemics.

3. Expressions of risk and resilience explores mental health symptom clusters such as depression, anxiety, dissociation, and explosive behavior through the lens of dorsal vagal or sympathetic nervous system states, as well as specific play therapy methods for healing the nervous system.

The therapeutic powers of play are illustrated through case examples and in practical, play-based interventions woven throughout the book.

Child and play therapists will come away from Polyvagal Power in the Playroom with the tools they need to help children and their caregivers achieve deeper levels of safety and connection.