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(p. 45) Understanding the Child’s Firesetting 

(p. 45) Understanding the Child’s Firesetting
(p. 45) Understanding the Child’s Firesetting

David J. Kolko

and Eric M. Vernberg

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date: 24 January 2021

This chapter deals with understanding a child’s firesetting, an essential element for the practitioner in planning how to address the issue for a particular child. It discusses how to introduce the purpose of working with the child (to reduce the risk of the child getting hurt by firesetting, or hurting others). It further describes methods to evaluate the child’s general capacity for self-reflection. The chapter indicates useful tools for gathering the facts of a firesetting incident, as well as eliciting the child’s feelings about it. The main tool described is a graph, which indicates the factual elements of the firesetting incident and the child’s feelings at various points during the incident. The rationale for making the graph is discussed, as well as procedures to elicit details for the graph and follow-up discussion for clarification.

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