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Play Therapy in the Outdoors

Taking Play Therapy out of the Playroom and into Natural Environments
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Championing the therapeutic power of nature, this book explores why outdoor play therapy offers children more than being confined to a playroom and how practice can be moved into the natural environment in a safe and ethical way.  

By using outdoor environments, the traditional dyadic relationship between the therapist and the child becomes a triadic one in which the therapeutic process is enhanced and the environment for the play therapy is shared and therefore more 'democratic'. The child can develop a lifelong therapeutic attachment to the 'nature mother' which supports the development of the body self and a growing recognition of our interdependence with nature. The author explores how this is achievable in practice and the benefits to children with a wide range of needs including profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), complex social, emotional and behavioural problems (SEBD) and attachment issues.

Synthesising traditions of using outdoor spaces in a therapeutic context with approaches from educational perspectives, this book offers a theoretically-sound and practical framework for taking play therapy into natural environments.
  • Published: Jun 21 2014
  • Pages: 208
  • 232 x 154mm
  • ISBN: 9781849054089
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Press Reviews

  • Dennis McCarthy, licensed mental health counsellor and psychotherapist specializing in sandplay and dream work, author of several play therapy books

    In her wonderful book Play Therapy in the Outdoors, Alison Chown first takes us into the play therapy office, setting the stage by considering childhood itself in the context of the greater world children live in. She grounds the play therapy process in the body where it naturally arises from and then opens the door and takes us out into the heart of the natural world. I kept hearing the poems of Gary Snyder and WS Merwin as I followed her and each child she presents out into nature, for there is true poetry in her approach. As children are today ever more burdened with electronic devices, test taking and a narrowing view of life, books such as Chown's remind us that what matters is connection; to self and others and the natural world which can bring us to the very wellspring of life where we might be healed.
  • Dr Ronen Berger, Founder of Nature Therapy, Head of the Nature Therapy Program, Tel Aviv University, Israel and co-author of The Healing Forest in Post-Crisis Work with Children

    This book makes a wonderful contribution to the field of play therapy. Presenting relevant theory with examples from practice it offers practitioners concepts and tools that can help them "open the doors", "go out", play and do therapy in the outdoors. It invites the therapist to incorporate Mother Nature in the process and extend the therapeutic impact of play.
  • Dr Sue Jennings, Visiting Fellow Leeds Metropolitan University

    This excellent book should be essential reading for everyone concerned with play and play therapy. It also should be part of the knowledge base for planners and developers before any more countryside is destroyed. Meticulously researched and discussed by Alison Chown, she shows how the great outdoors should be the heritage for children now and in the future. I hope it leads to some joined up thinking between health, education and planning. I strongly recommend this innovative book to be read, and then read again!
  • Play Therapy

    This book is an essential read for any therapist... Chown addresses how play therapy outdoors can be beneficial and achievable for children with wide-ranging needs including social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD), profound and multiple learning difficulties, attachment and trauma... Chown's book brings us full circle, resonating with the influences of mindfulness, back to our 'source', to nature, and the value of our roots in the earth. Chown is encouraging us to take another step, assessing the risks to self and others, to break down the physical and psychological walls that separate us from that which connects us all, the nature 'mother'.