Play-Based Interventions for Childhood Anxieties, Fears, and Phobias

Edited by Athena A. Drewes and Charles E. Schaefer

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
March 26, 2018
ISBN 9781462534715
Price: $80.00 $68.00
276 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
March 27, 2018
ISBN 9781462534708
Price: $35.00 $29.75
276 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
April 3, 2018
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $35.00 $29.75
276 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $70.00 $38.50
276 Pages

Illustrating the power of play for helping children overcome a wide variety of worries, fears, and phobias, this book provides a toolkit of play therapy approaches and techniques. Coverage encompasses everyday fears and worries in 3- to 12-year-olds as well as anxiety disorders and posttraumatic problems. Leading practitioners describe their approaches step by step and share vivid illustrative case material. Each chapter also summarizes the research base for the interventions discussed. Key topics include adapting therapy to each child's developmental level, engaging reluctant or less communicative clients, and involving parents in treatment.

“Provides a plethora of thoughtful and effective techniques to incorporate into play therapy practice. As a play therapy supervisor and trainer, I recommend this book as a go-to manual to expand therapists' understanding of how anxiety manifests in children and what play-based interventions are most helpful. Of particular interest are the multiple ways in which parents are included as an integral part of the interventions. This book will have a prominent place in my play therapy library.”

—Susan M. Carter, PhD, LP, RPT-S, private practice, Kalamazoo, Michigan

“With fear, anxiety, and phobias so prevalent in the lives of children, this volume is welcome and timely. Drewes and Schaefer have brought together seasoned international experts and have structured their chapters along a helpful continuum, from developmentally normative fears to more intensive and complex anxiety disorders and posttraumatic issues. The detailed case studies foreground the individual styles and coping strategies of children and families and remind us of the critical role of parent involvement in treatment success. This valuable resource hones in on how to support children in learning to tolerate and move around or through their emotional distress.”

—Mary Anne Peabody, EdD, LCSW, RPT-S, Social and Behavioral Sciences Program, University of Southern Maine

“This wonderful book enables the clinician to engage fearful children, conceptualize the roots of their distress, and provide age-appropriate play-based interventions. The benefits of early intervention and an understanding of neurobiology are highlighted. As a training provider, I was delighted to find simple techniques that parents can be taught, as well as cohesive approaches for implementation by psychotherapists. The book emphasizes the need for informed, integrated clinical decision making rather than reliance on random techniques or a single model when treating children with complex mental health issues. It should be read and referred to regularly by all play therapists and play therapy trainees.”

—Eileen Prendiville, ECP, Course Director, The Children’s Therapy Centre, Ireland

Table of Contents


1. Play-Based Approaches for Treating Childhood Anxieties: Basic Concepts and Practices, Charles E. Schaefer & Athena A. Drewes

I. Common Childhood Fears and Anxieties

2. Anxiety and the Hospitalized Child: Best Practices for Guiding Therapeutic Play, Donna Koller

3. Play Interventions for Children’s Nighttime Fears, Julie Blundon Nash

4. Play Therapy Practices with Children Experiencing Nightmares, Deborah Armstrong

5. Play-Based Treatment for School-Related Fears and Phobias of Children, Clair Mellenthin

6. Release Play Interventions for Children Who Experienced Stressful Life Events, Heidi Gerard Kaduson

II. Specific Anxiety Disorders

7. Integrating Play and Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions to Treat Childhood Worries and Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Taming Worry Dragons, Sandra L. Clark & E. Jane Garland

8. Theraplay as a Treatment for Children with Selective Mutism: Integrating the Polyvagal Theory, Attachment Theory and Social Communication, Lydia C. Glibota, Sandra Lindaman, & A. Rand Coleman

9. Integrating Play Therapy into Treatment of Children with Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder, Eric Green & Amie C. Myrick

10. Play Therapy for Separation Anxiety in Children, Paris Goodyear-Brown & Elizabeth Andersen

11. Effective Play-Based Interventions for Social Anxiety Disorder, Vicente E. Caballo, Isabel C. Salazar, & Thomas H. Ollendick

12. Integrating Play Therapy into Single-Session Behavioral Treatment for Preschool Children with Specific Phobias, Erinn N. Munro Lee, Helen Kershaw, & Lara J. Farrell

III. Posttraumatic Anxieties

13. Play-Based Interventions for Children Traumatized by Dealing with Natural and Human-Made Disasters, Akiko J. Ohnogi

14. Helping Sexually Abused Children Overcome Anxiety: A Play-Based Integrative Approach, Andrea Driggs McLeod

Appendix: Helpful Bibliotherapy Books


About the Editors

Athena A. Drewes, Psych, RPT-S, is a licensed child psychologist, certified school psychologist, and registered play therapist and supervisor. She is Director of Clinical Training and the Psychology Doctoral Internship at Astor Services for Children and Families in Poughkeepsie, New York. Since the 1970s, Dr. Drewes has utilized an integrative play therapy approach with children and adolescents experiencing a range of clinical issues in school and in outpatient and inpatient settings. She is a past board member of the Association for Play Therapy and founder and president emeritus of the New York Association for Play Therapy. She has published numerous books on play therapy and is a frequently invited guest lecturer in the United States and internationally.

Charles E. Schaefer, PhD, RPT-S, is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. Dr. Schaefer is cofounder and director emeritus of the Association for Play Therapy, which recognized him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. His more than 60 books include Essential Play TherapyTechniques: Time-Tested Approaches; Short-Term Play Therapy for Children, Third Edition; and Play-Based Interventions for Childhood Anxieties, Fears, and Phobias. He maintains a private practice in child psychotherapy in Hackensack, New Jersey.


Elizabeth Andersen, MS, Nurture House, Franklin, Tennessee

Deborah Armstrong, PhD, LMFT, RPT-S, The Mindgarden Centre, Greenville, South Carolina

Vicente E. Caballo, PhD, Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain, and Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

Sandra L. Clark, PhD, RPsych, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

A. Rand Coleman, PhD, The Theraplay Institute, Inc., Evanston, Illinois

Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S, Astor Services for Children and Families, Rhinebeck, New York, and Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, Connecticut

Lara J. Farrell, PhD, School of Applied Psychology and Behavioural Basis of Health, Griffith University, and Menzies Health Institute, Queensland, Australia

E. Jane Garland, MD, FRCPC, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, and Mood and Anxiety Disorders Clinic, BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Lydia C. Glibota, MSW, RSW, LMSW, Specialized Treatment Services, Hôtel- Dieu Grace Healthcare, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Paris Goodyear-Brown, MSSW, LCSW, RPT-S, Nurture House, Franklin, Tennessee

Eric J. Green, PhD, RPT-S, Johns Hopkins School of Education, Baltimore, Maryland

Heidi Gerard Kaduson, PhD, RPT-S, private practice, Monroe Township, New Jersey

Helen Kershaw, MA, RPT-S, School of Applied Psychology and Behavioural Basis of Health, Griffith University, and Menzies Health Institute, Queensland, Australia

Donna Koller, PhD, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University, and Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Erinn N. Munro-Lee, BPsySc, Menzies Health Institute, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

Sandra Lindaman, MA, MSW, LSLP, LCSW, LMSW, The Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, Fairfax, Virginia

Andrea Driggs McLeod, MSW, LCSW, RPT-S, The Theraplay Institute, Fairfax, Virginia

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S, Wasath Family Therapy, Sandy, Utah

Amie C. Myrick, MS, LCPC, Family and Children’s Services, Bel Air, Maryland

Julie Blundon Nash, PhD, RPT-S, private practice, Centerbrook, Connecticut, and Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia

Akiko J. Ohnogi, PsyD, Ohnogi Psychotherapy and Counseling Clinic, Tokyo, Japan

Thomas H. Ollendick, PhD, Child Study Center, Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia

Isabel C. Salazar, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, FUNVECA Clinical Psychology Center, Granada, Spain

Charles E. Schaefer, PhD, RPT-S, Department of Psychology, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey


Clinicians working with 3- to 12-year-olds, including art, play, and other creative therapists; child clinical psychologists; social workers; counselors; and child psychiatrists.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.