Prescriptive Play Therapy

Tailoring Interventions for Specific Childhood Problems

Edited by Heidi Gerard Kaduson, Donna Cangelosi, and Charles E. Schaefer

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
October 21, 2019
ISBN 9781462541683
Price: $86.00
276 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
October 21, 2019
ISBN 9781462541676
Price: $36.00
276 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
September 23, 2019
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $36.00
276 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $72.00 $39.60
276 Pages

This book helps practitioners choose from the broad range of play therapy approaches to create a comprehensive treatment plan that meets the individual needs of each child. From leaders in the field, the volume provides a flexible roadmap for assessment, case formulation, and intervention for frequently encountered psychological disorders and adversities. The focus is creating a unique therapy “prescription” that is tailored to the child's presenting problems as well as his or her strengths, challenges, and developmental level. Contributors present up-to-date knowledge on each clinical problem, describe practices that have been shown to be effective, and share vivid illustrations of work with 3- to 16-year-olds and their parents.

“This comprehensive work brings prescriptive play therapy center stage as a useful and viable model for treating many childhood disorders. Prevailing manualized therapies often fail to address the needs of the individual—but this book demonstrates ways to address individuality while being integrative and multimodal. For practicing play therapists, the volume provides a foundation for implementing prescriptive play therapy across disorders. For play therapy educators, it is well suited as a supplementary text in Advanced Play Therapy and special topics courses.”

—Edward F. Hudspeth, PhD, NCC, LPC-S, ACS, RPT-S, RPh, Associate Dean of Counseling Programs, Southern New Hampshire University

“Kaduson and colleagues have assembled a group of experts to give the reader a deep understanding of prescriptive play therapy and its clinical application to an array of childhood disorders. The authors provide a wealth of information to help clinicians select interventions based on treatment need. Each chapter offers step-by-step details for implementation, brought to life through case vignettes. This book is a ‘must read’ for both professionals and students.”

—Sue C. Bratton, PhD, Professor Emerita of Counseling and Director Emerita, Center for Play Therapy, University of North Texas

“Kaduson, Cangelosi, and Schaefer provide a wonderful explanation of the theoretical integration involved in the prescriptive approach. Each chapter beautifully highlights the application of prescriptive play therapy through case illustrations, removing the veil from this client-driven approach. Readers will appreciate the discussion of the therapeutic powers of play that are core to all theoretical orientations. Child and play therapists will benefit from this contribution to the field, as will students of play therapy.”

—Renee Turner, PhD, LPC-S, RPT/S, Professional Counseling Program, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

“Prescriptive play therapists recognize that in a field that so often focuses on differential diagnosis, there is an equally important need to focus on differential therapeutics. The editors and contributors are pioneers in play therapy who show that ‘integrative’ and ‘eclectic’ are not negative terms, but fundamental elements in the treatment process. Because children are unique, the treatment process needs to be tailored, specific, and individualized, as well as theory based. Prescriptive Play Therapy is relevant and timely, and should be on the shelves of both clinicians and educators.”

—Daniel S. Sweeney, PhD, LMFT, LPC, RPT-S, Professor of Counseling and Director, Northwest Center for Play Therapy Studies, George Fox University

“This multifaceted book shows readers the value of seeing beyond one theoretical perspective so that a full range of interventions can be considered when working with children. Chapters explore how to combine approaches to provide high-quality, individualized care. I strongly recommend this book for all levels of play and child therapists and counselors who want to nourish their professional growth.”

—Joyce C. Mills, PhD, LMFT, RPT-S, Founder, StoryPlay® Global Certification Training Program, Phoenix, Arizona; Co-Director, Phoenix Institute for Ericksonian Psychotherapy

Table of Contents

I. Description of and Rationale for Prescriptive Play Therapy

1. Basic Principles and Core Practices of Prescriptive Play Therapy, Heidi Gerard Kaduson, Charles E. Schaefer, & Donna Cangelosi sample

2. Comprehensive, Individualized Assessment for Prescriptive Play Therapy, Sue Ammen

II. Clinical Applications of Prescriptive Play Therapy for Internalizing Disorders

3. Play Therapy for Children with Depression, Erik Newman

4. Play Therapy for Children with Fears and Phobias, Laurie Zelinger

5. Play Therapy for Children with Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder, Susan Carter

6. Play Therapy for Children with Selective Mutism, Lynn Louise Wonders

III. Clinical Applications of Prescriptive Play Therapy for Stress/Trauma Reactions

7. Play Interventions for Young Survivors of Disaster, Terrorism, and Other Tragic Events, Janine Shelby & Audrey D. Smith

8. Play Therapy for Children of Divorce, Donna Cangelosi

9. Play Therapy for Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused, Eliana Gil & Quinn Koelfgen Smelser

IV. Clinical Applications of Prescriptive Play Therapy for Externalizing Disorders

10. Play Therapy for Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Heidi Gerard Kaduson

11. Play Therapy for Children with Problem Sexual Behaviors, Eliana Gil & Quinn Koelfgen Smelser

12. Play Therapy for Children Exhibiting Aggressive Behaviors, David A. Crenshaw & Alyssa Swan

V. Clinical Applications of Prescriptive Play Therapy for Other Disorders

13. Play Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Robert Jason Grant

14. Play Therapy for Children with Attachment Disruptions, Paris Goodyear-Brown

15. Play Therapy for Children with School Behavior Problems, Athena A. Drewes


About the Editors

Heidi Gerard Kaduson, PhD, RPT-S, specializes in evaluation and intervention services for children with a variety of behavioral, emotional, and learning problems. She is past president of the Association for Play Therapy and Director of The Play Therapy Training Institute in Monroe Township, New Jersey. She has lectured internationally on play therapy, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and learning disabilities. Dr. Kaduson’s coedited books include Prescriptive Play Therapy and Short-Term Play Therapy, Third Edition. She maintains a private practice in child psychotherapy in Monroe Township.

Donna Cangelosi, PsyD, RPT-S, maintains a private practice with children, adolescents, and adults in Wayne, New Jersey, where she provides psychotherapy, clinical supervision, and parent education. Dr. Cangelosi is coauthor of Essential Play Therapy Techniques and coeditor of Prescriptive Play Therapy, and she has published several chapters and professional articles on the theory and application of psychodynamic play therapy. She has lectured throughout the country on topics related to play therapy and loss issues in children.

Charles E. Schaefer, PhD, RPT-S, until his death in 2020, was Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. A pioneering play therapist, he was Cofounder and Director Emeritus of the Association for Play Therapy, which recognized him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Schaefer published more than 100 research articles and over 70 professional books, including Prescriptive Play Therapy; Play-Based Interventions for Childhood Anxieties, Fears, and Phobias; and Essential Play Therapy Techniques.


Sue Ammen, PhD, Professor Emeritus, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, Fresno, California

Donna Cangelosi, PsyD, private practice, Wayne, New Jersey

Susan M. Carter, PhD, RPT-S, Registered Play Therapist, Center for Change and Growth PLC, Kalamazoo, Michigan

David A. Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP, Clinical Director, Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, Poughkeepsie, New York

Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S, Child Psychologist, Parapsychologist, and Consultant, Rhine Research Center, Durham, North Carolina

Eliana Gil, PhD, Founder and Senior Clinical Consultant, Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, Fairfax, Virginia

Paris Goodyear-Brown, MSSW, LCSW, Founder and Clinical Director, Nurture House, Franklin, Tennessee

Robert Jason Grant, EdD, AutPlay Therapy Clinic, Springfield, Missouri

Heidi Gerard Kaduson, PhD, Director, The Play Therapy Training Institute, and private practice, Monroe Township, New Jersey

Erik Newman, PhD, Foothills Integrative Psychological Services, Lone Tree, Colorado

Charles E. Schaefer, PhD, Cofounder and Director Emeritus, Association for Play Therapy, Clovis, California; Department of Psychology (Emeritus), Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey

Janine Shelby, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

Quinn Koelfgen Smelser, LPC, NCC, therapist, Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education, Fairfax, Virginia

Audrey D. Smith, undergraduate student, Department of Sociology, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama

Alyssa Swan, PhD, Associate Clinical Director, Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, Poughkeepsie, New York

Lynn Louise Wonders, MA, Wonders Counseling Services, Marietta, Georgia

Laurie Zelinger, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, private practice, Cedarhurst, New York


Clinicians working with 3- to 16-year-olds, including play, art, 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.