Practice to make a difference.

Playful Approaches to Serious Problems

The narrative therapy approach involves the whole family and especially children by respect in their unique language, problem-solving resources and view of the world. When the grown up talk becomes serious and focused on analysing problems, it is likely to turn children off. The authors of this book ask “what might it mean for us as helpers of families and children to be light on toes when confronting weighty problems” is it possible to play and to maintain a sense of humour while dealing effectively with distressing, frightening, or perilous situations? How can we invite children and family members to bring forth their imaginative and creative resources while coming to grips with the sociocultural complexity of problems? These questions determine the nature of their inquiry into playful approaches to serious problems.

The authors begin by elucidation a basic theory of collaborative narrative play that allows new choices and stories of hope and change to emerge. They encourage appreciation for ways of communication that appeal to children whether in the sand-tray or with puppet “co-therapists” and respect for special and unusual abilities such as the ability to “read hearts” or connect with imaginary friends.

Compelling case examples draw the reader into the book from the first page. Children who might have been labelled belligerent, hyperactive, anxious or out of touch with reality are found to be capable of taming their tempers, controlling frustration, facing fears and using their imaginations to the fullest. Family members discover how to use play to bolster the child’s attempts to “grow up and shrink the problem“ “get the better of trouble” or “catch sneaky poo before it sneaks out” in addition to these case vignettes throughout the first two parts of the book, there are five extended case stories in part three.

Realistic, heartening, pragmatic and just plain fun, narrative therapy encourages children and their families to use resources that have been overlooked to turn the tables on the problems they face.

Therapists, parents, teachers or anyone helping children and families will find that this book turns their thinking around, too – in the most unexpected and illuminating ways.


Jennifer Freeman and Dean Lobovits are marriage, family and child therapists in California, USA.

David Epston is co-director of The Family Therapy Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.

Playful Approaches to Serious Problems

Author: J Freeman, D Epston and D Lobo

$63.95 Add to Cart

Customers who Purchased this item also purchased

  • Evidence of Absence: A Guide to Cognitive Assessment in Australia

    Evidence of Absence: A Guide to Cognitive Assessment in Australia

    by Dr Simon Crowe

    *No refund on this item: Was: $56.95* *Reduced by 15% - Now $48.40* This book offers Australian mental health clinicians for the first time a locally written guide to the clinical interpretation of cognitive assessments using the Wechsler scales, including the WAIS-IV, the WMS-IV and the Advanced Clinical Solutions for WAIS-IV and WMS-IV. Using Australian case material, the reader is provided with empirical and interpretative analysis based upon the varying State legal requirements, the range of sociocultural uses to which intellectual assessment is put, and consideration of appropriate norms. The reader... More info

    $48.40 Add to Cart
  • Bully Blocking at Work: A Self-Help Guide for Employees and Managers

    Bully Blocking at Work: A Self-Help Guide for Employees and Managers

    by Evelyn Field

    No one goes to work to be humiliated, abused, ostracised, subjected to rumours, or assaulted. Yet this is the reality of a working day for more than one in six workers. Bullying causes billions of dollars in lost productivity, expensive mistakes, employee replacement costs, and health and welfare rehabilitation expenses. Most workplaces currently have few resources and systems to deal with the problem, leaving the victims to sink or swim, and the bullies to remain professionally incompetent. Few understand that bullying is not tough management or an aggressive personality... More info

    $31.95 Add to Cart
  • Self-Control to the Rescue!: Super Powers to Help Kids Through the Tough Stuff in Everyday Life

    Self-Control to the Rescue!: Super Powers to Help Kids Through the Tough Stuff in Everyday Life

    by Lauren Brukner

    The self-control super hero is back! This time, they've come prepared with simple strategies to tackle the difficult emotions and challenges of everyday life. From the morning routine to making friends at recess, paying attention in class and getting a good night's sleep, this guide will help children stay on track and save the day! Focussing on specific times of the day that present particular challenges, the book uses illustrations and simple language to describe breathing exercises, stretching, and visualization techniques to help children aged 4-7 keep calm and in... More info

    $30.99 Add to Cart