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(p. 182) Using Play Therapy to Support Bereaved Students 

(p. 182) Using Play Therapy to Support Bereaved Students
(p. 182) Using Play Therapy to Support Bereaved Students

Karrie L. Swan

and Rebecca Rudd

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date: 16 May 2021

Using the tenets of child-centered play therapy, this chapter describes interventions that school-based mental health professionals can use to support bereaved children. Children’s reactions to death, and the interventions that professionals can use, vary based on their developmental stage. Strategies are presented for helping children process the early period of bereavement, facilitate a developmentally and culturally appropriate understanding of death, promote adjustment to changes in family constellation and dynamics, and memorialize loved ones. Instructions are provided for using play techniques to help children organize, make sense of, and express their losses in a concrete manner. The play interventions described in this chapter involve using a sand tray and miniature figures to help a child prepare for a memorial service and to start to understand the concept of death, using puppets to explore the changes in family dynamics that occur after a death, and creating a memorial book.

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