Adlerian Play Therapy on Children with Disruptive Behavior

Published: 2021-06-17 08:35:06
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Category: Medicine, Family, Child Development

Type of paper: Essay

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Disruptive behaviors can be defined as the child’s aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors, such as lying, cheating, displaying lack of guilt or remorse, stealing, swearing, arguing, being mean to others, destroying one’s own personal property or that of others, and getting into fights with others. Children with this kind of behavior are likely to develop conduct disorders, exhibit higher rates of social problems, develop internalizing problems, struggle academically, and increase teachers’ stress. Furthermore, behavioral issue of this kind could also be related to intellectual and/or developmental disabilities on children, and children with these disabilities were three to four times more likely to experience an emotional, behavioral, or psychiatric disorder. Alder’s early writings extensively emphasized the importance of play and childhood, though, he did not personally work with children. Kottman (2003) developed Adlerian Play Therapy (AdPT), a comprehensive, developmentally responsive approach in children counseling that is well-grounded by Individual Psychology’s tenets with play therapy skills and concepts.
AdPT follows the traditional Adlerian Theory that encompasses four phases of counseling: (a) Phase 1 – building an egalitarian relationship, (b) Phase 2 – investigating the child’s lifestyle, (c) Phase 3 – helping the child to gain insight, and (d) Phase 4 – reorienting/reeducating the child. In the first phase of AdTP, the play therapist’s goal is to collaboratively build a warm, consistent, and accepting therapeutic relationship, both also share leadership in the session. During the second phase, the play therapist’s next goal is to collect significantly relevant information about the child’s lifestyle, and in this phase, play therapist may involve the child’s important adults, such as parents and teachers. Information of any particular interest may include family constellation, personality priorities, mistaken beliefs, goals of misbehavior, and the child’s assets. During Phase 3, the play therapist creates activities that brings opportunity for children to help them gain insight on their lifestyles and ways of being in the world. Non-directed play or activities, such as, puppet shows, art projects, role-plays, stories, sand trays, or movement interventions are often used in this phase. Lastly, on Phase 4, they play therapist teaches/sets up examples for the children to learn and practice new approaches of feeling, thinking, and behaving within a safe and supportive relationship. Also, AdPT uses modeling and practicing with important people, such as parents, teachers, siblings, and classmates to assist them in the transition of utilizing new and useful ways of being.
The underlying philosophy of Individual Psychology believes that individuals are 1) socially embedded, 2) subjective and creative, and 3) goal directed. We have always been a part of social group ever since birth, typically in our family of origin, and continue to live our lives in social spheres. Children develop social interest from early experiences, a concept that identifies and individual’s mental health or well-being. According to Individual Psychology, children who exhibit higher social interest tend to function better in their families and social groups. In contrast, children who are identified otherwise tend to struggle on connecting to others, to belong, and to find a sense of significance in their environment. For Adlerians, this part is vital because people often interpret their way of belonging with others and create perceptions of themselves, others, and the world. A studies (2015) have been conducted to examine AdTP’s efficacy, and revealed that the therapy is effective at decreasing problem behaviors and increasing on-task behaviors on children. There appeared to be an improvement in targeted behavior at the conclusion of the study period. However, reports from parents and teachers demonstrated little to no change in the children’s total behavior. It may be because parents or teachers have already an established ‘disruptive image’ of the child and thus, loses objectivity in their views of the child.

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