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One of my favorites is Paris Goodyear-Brown’s brilliant book called The Worry Wars. This book contains three stories that correlate with three different kinds of anxiety children often present with in therapy. The stories, characters and illustrations are fun, engaging helping children to understand what they are experiencing. The bonus treasures in this book are the practical interventions you and your child clients can utilize right away that relate to the stories in the book. This is a core go-to in my own work with child clients and I highly recommend it!
Another favorite go-to in my play library is Dawn Huebner’s workbook called What to Do When You Worry Too Much. This resource provides some psycho-education and play-based interventions about the nature of anxiety and how to master and cope.
Liana Lowenstein has loads of effective play-based interventions in her book called Creative CBT Interventions for Children With Anxiety.
Anyone who has watched or listened to my play therapy trainings knows that I love using mandalas in therapy with children. This wonderful guide teaches therapists the therapeutic power of mandalas.
I love to use aromatherapy in my offices using a diffuser. I just put a couple of drops of my favorite stress reducing essential oil blend into the water and clients benefit from the research-proven effects of soothing aromatherapy.
This fun fidget Squeeze Bean Key Chain is a favorite for many children I have treated for trichotillomania and other anxiety disorders and it comes in a pack of 4 so you’ll have several on hand for various clients. It’s also great for children diagnosed with ADHD.
For preschool age children struggling with separation anxiety, The Kissing Hand is a must for therapists to have on hand.
A Boy and a Turtle can be used to help children understand how to utilize visualization to provide coping and mastery over anxiety.
Helping the parents of you child clients know how to support their anxious children is key. I love this book called Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step by Step Guide by Dr. Ronald Rapee.
I am a huge proponent of practicing and teaching mindfulness in play therapy and family sessions. This book called Mindful Games: Sharing Mindfulness with Children, Teens and Families provides loads of ideas for therapists to utilize.
Sitting Still Like a Frog is a wonderful little book that helps children learn the beginnings of meditation which has been proven by recent brain science to reduce anxiety.
Those are my top favorite resources for helping children with anxiety in the play room! While I use facilitative play therapy interventions based on a prescriptive approach, in my play therapy training I urge play therapists to always build treatment plans on a foundation of Child Centered Play Therapy theory by being present, respecting the child, using tracking, reflecting, returning responsibility and therapeutic limit setting. Required reading for all of my supervisees who are new to play therapy are Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship by Dr. Garry Landreth and Child Centered Play Therapy by Rise Van Fleet
To learn more about play therapy with anxious children please take a peek at my 3 hour recorded tele-seminar that provides APT approved non-contact play therapy training at this link here.
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