Play of Adjusted and Maladjusted Children

As I was reviewing the required text, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship (3rd Ed)“, by Garry Landreth, for the Psychotherapy with Children course I am teaching this trimester, I was reminded of the basic differences between the play of adjusted and maladjusted children.  For me, the differences become apparent to me in a felt sense I get in being with the child during their first session.  However, the researched differences are clear and state concrete variations between the play of adjusted and maladjusted children.

Since many of my students will be working with children for the first time this trimester, I wanted to highlight this info for them.  And I figured it might be helpful for other play therapists … new and experienced … to be reminded of these differences and what to look out for.  Parents may also find this helpful if they are questioning whether or not their child’s play is “normal”.  Just remember that a child’s play may vary from adjusted to maladjusted depending on what is directly impacting them at the time.  However, if you do notice that your child’s play consistently resembles the play of the maladjusted child you may consider working with a qualified mental health professional that works with children in order to address the underlying issues bothering your child.

play differences - adjusted vs maladjusted children

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Laura Hutchison

Laura Hutchison (aka PlayDrMom) is a chubby kid turned competitive figure skater tween turned high school pom pon girl turned MSU Spartan turned grad student turned Mrs. HutcH turned Dr. turned Mom. She adores living in the Mitten, is addicted to Diet Coke, and firmly believes that ice cream is a main food group.

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