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October 7, 1950

Child Treatment and the Therapy of Play

JAMA. 1950;144(6):506. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02920060068034

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In this book the authors stress the role of play as an expression of the child's emotional problems. Careful observation and analysis of the patterns of children's play can provide the same clues to understanding of inner conflicts that are revealed through the verbal expression of adult difficulties. The place of play as a method of therapy is also emphasized. Play is used, step by step, to help the child understand his problems and in a sense is analogous to conversation and free association in the adult. The importance of childhood personality difficulties is clearly evident when early deviate behavior is regarded as the precursor to adult neurosis. The authors point out that the behavior of the neurotic child during play differs greatly from that of the normal child. The skilled observer is able to detect disturbances due to overanxiety, excessive aggression or inferiority and guilt by careful study of

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