Add to your repertoire of creative therapeutic interventions with this original technique.
Please be sure to print this page as the technique below will be replaced by a new technique each month.
Printable form of current Featured Technique can be attained here.
CAUTION: THIS TECHNIQUE IS FOR USE BY MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WITH SPECIALIZED TRAINING IN CLINICAL WORK WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.
Source: Craig I. Springer and Justin R. Misurell
Recommended Age Range: Five and Up
Treatment Modality: Individual, Conjoint Child-Caregiver, Group
Following play, the clinician can lead a processing discussion to ensure understanding and skill acquisition. Processing questions can include: What did you learn from this game? How did your body feel after you engaged in strenuous exercise? What other times has your body felt this way? What did you do during the game to relax and calm your body? How did you feel after using relaxation and calming strategies? When are some other times that you could use these strategies?
This activity was developed as part of the Game-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (GB-CBT) model for child sexual abuse (CSA) (Misurell & Springer, 2013; Springer & Misurell, 2010; Springer & Misurell, 2012). GB-CBT utilizes structured therapeutic games (STGs) as a primary therapeutic intervention to assist children impacted by sexual abuse and their families. STGs are goal-oriented, rule-governed, directive activities designed to teach specific skills through experiential learning, rehearsal and corrective feedback (Springer & Misurell, 2015). Therapeutic games enable children to learn and practice skills in a naturalistic, familiar, age-appropriate and enjoyable manner. The congruence of the games to recreational activities that children routinely engage in helps to enhance skill acquisition and utilization in a variety of contexts. STGs used in GB-CBT are based on the following principles: 1) STGs are tailored to the developmental level of the child; 2) STGs provide multiple opportunities for practice in order to maximize skill acquisition; 3) STGs emphasize positive interactions between clients and clinicians; to promote pro-social skill development; and 4) STGs foster cooperation, therapeutic relationships, cognitive problem solving, and healthy competition within the context of team-building exercises.
The importance of developing effective coping skills such as relaxation and calming strategies has been discussed in the treatment outcome literature as a critical component for therapeutic success for an array of clinical disorders (Beidas, Benjamin, Puleo, Edmunds, & Kendall, 2010; Cuijpers, Munoz, Clarke & Lewinsohn 2009). Effective coping skills can contribute to the development of healthy social relationships and achieving academic and occupational success (Clarke, 2006; Goleman, 2006; Zins, Bloodworth, Weissberg, & Walberg, 2007). While the Relaxercise game was originally created to assist children and families impacted by sexual abuse, this technique has also been successfully used with children diagnosed with anxiety and disruptive behavior disorders. Currently, the authors are developing GB-CBT curricula to respond to a wider variety of childhood problems and difficulties.
Clarke, A.T. (2006). Coping with interpersonal stress and psychosocial health among children and adolescents: A meta-analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 11-24. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-005-9001-x
Cuijpers, P., Munoz, R.F., Clarke, G.N, & Lewinsohn, P.M. (2009). Psychoeducational treatment and prevention of depression: The “coping with depression” course thirty years later. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 449-458. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.04.005
Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York: Random House.
Misurell, J.R. & Springer, C. (2013). Developing culturally competent evidence-based practice: A game-based cognitive-behavioral group therapy (GB-CBT) program for African-American and Latino families impacted by child sexual abuse (CSA). Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(1), 137-149.
Springer, C.I. & Misurell, J.R. (2015). Game-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for child sexual abuse: An innovative treatment approach. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company,
Springer, C., & Misurell, J. R. (2010). Game-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (GB- CBT): An innovative group treatment program for children who have been sexually abused. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 3, 163-180.
Springer, C. & Misurell, J.R. (2012). Game-based cognitive-behavioral therapy individual model (GB-CBT-IM) for child sexual abuse. International Journal of Play Therapy, 21(4), 188-201. doi 10.1037/a0030197.
Zins, J.E., Bloodworth MR. Weissberg, R.P., & Walberg, H.J. (2007). The scientific base linking social and emotional learning to school success. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 17, 191-210. DOI: 10.1080/10474410701413145
About The Authors
Justin R. Misurell, PhD, is the Clinical Director of New York University’s Child Study Center- New Jersey Office. Previously, he served as Staff Psychologist, at the Metropolitan Regional Child Abuse Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, where he co-developed Game-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (GB-CBT), an integrative and trans-diagnostic approach for addressing childhood difficulties. Dr. Misurell has given numerous presentations and has published multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and a full-length book on the game-based approach.
© Copyright 2015, Game-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Child Sexual Abuse: An Innovative Treatment Approach, Craig Springer PhD and Justin Misurell PhD, Copyright 2014, Reproduced with the permission of Springer Publishing Company, LLC ISBN: 978-0-8261-2336-7