Polyvagal Power in the Playroom


A Guide for Play Therapists

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.

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Foreword: Play Therapy Through the Lens of the Polyvagal Theory – Stephen W. Porges

1. How the Science of Relationships Impacts Our Thinking about Development: Interruptions, Happenings, and Expressions of Risk or Resilience – Marilyn R. Sanders

2. Listening Inside Our Bodies, Outside our Bodies, and Between Bodies: Interoception, Exteroception, and Setting Up a Polyvagal Informed Playroom – Paris Goodyear-Brown and Lorri A. Yasenik

3. The Sounds of Safety in an Unsafe World: Recovering from Domestic Violence Through Polyvagal Informed Play Therapy – Lorri A. Yasenik and Jennifer Buchanan

4. The Genius of the Disembodied Self: Coping with Childhood Sexual Abuse – Paris Goodyear-Brown and Sueann Kenney-Noziska

5. Healing Attachment Ruptures with Safety and Connection through Play – Jackie Flynn and Bridger Falkenstien

6. Neurodivergencies: Incorporating Polyvagal Theory – Karen Stagnitti

7. Plagues, Pandemics, and the Polyvagal Theory in the Playroom – Natalie Nadiprodjo and Judi Parson

8. Reclaiming a Feeling of Safety in Natural Disasters: Preparatory and Advanced Interventions Using Play and Play Therapy – Claudio Mochi and Isabella Cassina

9. Polyvagal-Informed Practice to Support Children and Caregivers in War: Toward the Creation of a Huge and Reassuring Playroom – Isabella Cassina and Claudio Mochi

10. Anxiety, the Autonomic Nervous System and Play as Mechanisms of Change – Lynn Louise Wonders

11. Polyvagal Theory and Play Therapy with Children who Exhibit Aggression – David Crenshaw and Lisa Dion

12. Helping Depressed, Dissociative, and Withdrawn Children: Integrating Holistic Expressive Play Therapy and Polyvagal Theory – Marie José Dhaese and Richard Gaskill

13. Nature and Play as Polyvagal Partners in Play Therapy – Maggie Fearn and Janet Courtney

14. Child Centered Play Therapy: Person of the Therapist Presence, Neuroception of Safety, and Co-Regulation – Sue Bratton and Alyssa

15. Safety in Sand and Symbols: Polyvagal Shifts in the Sand Tray – Marshall Lyles and Linda Homeyer

16. Expressive Arts Therapy as Polyvagal Play: Shifting States Towards Safety – Carmen Richardson

17. Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ as a Polyvagal Process – Mary Rottier and Rebecca Dickinson

18. Digital Play Therapy™: Harnessing the Felt Sense of Safety in the Digital Space – Jessica Stone and Rachel Altvater

Additional information

Weight 0.6 kg

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