Group Play Therapy

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Play therapy has been a recognized mode of treatment for children with social, emotional, and behavioral problems for decades. More recently, the use of group play in the therapeutic process is gaining wide use in certain populations due to an increased focus on the importance of social intelligence as a core requirement of life in society (Bratton, Ray, Rhine, & Jones, 2005). Group Play Therapy (GPT) models have been shown to promote positive socio-emotional functioning for multiple child populations (Bratton et al., 2005). Notably, current research presents increasing evidence for the benefits of group play therapy in dealing with the social impairments found in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
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32). The term ADHD is in fact better understood as a name for a collection of symptoms, some positive and some negative (Hallowell & Ratey, 2005). “For many children, ADHD should be seen not as a disorder, but as a trait, a way of being in the world” (Hallowell & Ratey, 2005, p. 32). However, under certain conditions where a child’s life experience is impaired, ADHD can become a disorder. As the diagnosis of ADHD has evolved, so have the chosen treatment strategies for the disorder (Hansen et al., 2000). One of the primary hindrances of this disorder is the inability to function well in a dynamic social environment. Young children with ADHD naturally display impulsive behavior, particularly in group situations, where they appear to feel most vulnerable. Group play therapy programs designed for children with ADHD focus on the development of social entry skills, as well as maintaining interactions and solving problems. Impulse control and recognition of social cues from others are gradually learned through the group experience. A group play therapy program called “Kids Together” has been designed specifically for children dealing with ADHD symptoms (Hansen et al., 2000). This model program emphasizes key aspects of social learning theory, attempting to utilize group processes to initiate and reinforce change in behavior (Hansen et al., 2000). The design of group play therapy programs, such as “Kids Together”, has provided ADHD children with a means of coping in everyday social dilemmas (Hansen et al.,

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