Play Therapy for Preschool Children is a comprehensive sourcebook of play interventions for preventing and resolving the most common disorders of children aged 3–5 years old. Editor Charles Schaefer has gathered leading clinicians and researchers who present the research background alongside recent advances in the adaptation of play therapy for use with children who exhibit a variety of internalizing, externalizing, and developmental disorders, as well as prevention programs for at-risk children.

Chapters use case illustrations to demonstrate interventions for mild to moderate behavior problems, insecurely-attached preschool children and children with posttraumatic issues, as well as how to use play therapy in conjunction with parent psychotherapy and cognitive–behavioral therapy. Contributors also discuss interventions for autistic and developmentally-delayed children, and the use of play interventions in classroom and parent-child settings. Throughout, chapter authors provide practical guidance for the full implementation of clinical ideas, from intake through termination.

Clearly written and comprehensive in scope, Play Therapy for Preschool Children is a must-have for any student or mental health professional who seeks a full understanding of the latest theory and practice of play therapy with this uniquely vulnerable and often misunderstood population.

Table of Contents



I. Play-Based Prevention Programs

  1. Clinical and Developmental Issues in Psychotherapy With Preschool Children: Laying the Groundwork for Play Therapy
    —Julie Blundon Nash and Charles E. Schaefer
  2. Evidence Supporting the Benefit of Play for Mild to Moderate Behavior Problems of Preschool Children
    —Charles E. Schaefer
  3. Play Therapy for Insecurely Attached Preschool Children
    —Helen E. Benedict and Diana Schofield

II. Play Interventions for Internalizing Disorders

  1. Posttraumatic Parenting: A Parent–Child Dyadic Treatment for Young Children's Posttraumatic Adjustment
    —Janine Shelby, Claudia Avina, and Heather Warnick
  2. Filial Play Therapy for Grieving Preschool Children
    —Hilda R. Glazer
  3. Strategic Play Therapy Techniques for Anxious Preschoolers
    —Paris Goodyear-Brown
  4. Use of Play in Child–Parent Psychotherapy With Preschoolers Traumatized by Domestic Violence
    —Manuela A. Diaz and Alicia F. Lieberman
  5. Cognitive–Behavioral Play Therapy for Preschoolers: Integrating Play and Cognitive–Behavioral Interventions
    —Susan M. Knell and Meena Dasari

III. Play Interventions for Externalizing Disorders

  1. Role of Sociodramatic Play in Promoting Self-Regulation
    —Katherine A. Gioia and Renée M. Tobin
  2. Parent–Child Interaction Therapy
    —Corissa L. Callahan, Monica L. Stevens, and Sheila Eyberg
  3. Jungian Sandplay Therapy for Preschoolers With Disruptive Behavior Problems
    —Eric J. Green and Kristi Gibbs
  4. Parents, Teachers, and Therapists Using Child-Directed Play Therapy and Coaching Skills to Promote Children's Social and Emotional Competence and Build Positive Relationships
    —Carolyn Webster-Stratton and M. Jamila Reid

IV. Play Interventions for Developmental Disorders

  1. From Novice to Expert: Guiding Children on the Autism Spectrum in Integrated Play Groups
    —David Neufeld and Pamela Wolfberg
  2. Teaching Social Skills to Developmentally Delayed Preschoolers
    —Johnny L. Matson and Jill C. Fodstad


About the Editor

Editor Bio

Charles E. Schaefer, PhD, RPT-S, is cofounder and director emeritus of the Association for Play Therapy (APT). In 2006, APT awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Schaefer is also founder and codirector of the Play Therapy Training Institute in Hightstown, New Jersey. He coordinates an annual International Play Therapy Study Group in Wroxton, England.

Dr. Schaefer is author or editor of more than 100 professional articles and 55 books. Among his books are Foundations of Play Therapy; Handbook of Play Therapy; The Playing Cure; Play Therapy Techniques; 101 Favorite Play Therapy Techniques; Game Play; Contemporary Play Therapy; Short-Term Play Therapy; Play Therapy With Adolescents; Play Therapy With Adults; Play Therapy With Very Young Children (Zero to Three); Empirically Based Play Interventions for Children; Handbook of Parent Training (3rd ed.); How to Help Children With Common Problems; Teach Your Baby to Sleep Through The Night; Toilet Training Without Tears; and Ages & Stages: A Parent's Guide to Normal Child Development.

Dr. Schaefer is emeritus professor of psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey, and maintains a private practice at the university's clinic in Hackensack, New Jersey.