This group consists
of a collection of board games that have been designed to be used in the
course of the psychotherapeutic process. Mildly competitive play and token
reinforcement are used to encourage the child's responding to questions
that reveal underlying psychodynamic processes.
Included in this group is The Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game , first published in 1973. This game was probably the first therapeutic board game ever utilized and still enjoys worldwide popularity, so much so that it is generally considered to be standard equipment for child psychotherapists. Included here also are mutual storytelling derivative games, games that facilitate the utilization of Dr. Gardner's classic mutual storytelling technique, e.g. The Storytelling Card Game and The Pick and Tell Games .
The Helping, Sharing, and Caring Game , although useful for children who are not in therapy, can be particularly effective in the treatment of children with conduct disorders because of it's emphasis on morals, values, safety, empathy, and sympathy.
The word diagnosis is used here in the original
Greek sense of the word: to know in depth or to know through.
It is not being used in the sense of labeling or naming the clinical entity.
Both types of utilization of the term are important, but they have different
purposes in different situations.
Most important is The Gardner Children's Projective Battery (GCPB) which enables the examiner to learn in-depth about the child patient's underlying psychodynamic. It takes about 3-4 hours to administer, the same amount of time generally needed to conduct the standard psychological diagnostic battery. The Adoption Story Cards are particularly useful for eliciting information from adopted children who typically have difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings about their adoption. Books and Instruments useful for objectively assessing the neurologically based symptoms of learning disabled children are also included.
These books cover the wide variety of contributions that Dr. Gardner has made in this realm. Many of these books have become standards in the field and have enjoyed multiple printings. These books describe in detail the techniques that Dr. Gardner utilizes for the treatment of the wide variety of psychogenic disorders for which children are brought to treatment. Although theoretical material is provided, the emphasis is on delineating specific techniques, most often with verbatim clinical vignettes. Accordingly, these are very much "how-to" books. They serve as excellent complements to the psychotherapeutic instruments.
We are living in a time when true and false accusations of sexual abuse are very much in the public eye. The term hysteria is applicable to the overreaction sometimes seen in both of these types of accusation. The books in this category deal with hysteria, the differential diagnosis between true and false accusations, and the treatment of children in both categories. Of particular interest to professionals in forensic work is the forthcoming volume in which Dr. Gardner presents the criteria he utilizes for differentiating between trauma that is directly the result of sexual abuse and trauma from other causes.
These books cover many of the areas in which Dr. Gardner has done pioneering work. The criteria he has utilized for recommending parental preference in custody disputes are described in his Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation . Most important is his work on The Parental Alienation Syndrome , a disorder that has emerged in recent years in the context of highly contested child-custody disputes. Also in this category is his Protocols for the Sex-Abuse Evaluation which describes specific criteria for differentiating between true and false sex-abuse accusations. Mental health examiners involved in courtroom testimony will find his Testifying in Court a valuable handbook.
The books in this category provide guidance for parents in general ( Understanding Children: A Parents Guide to Child Rearing ) and guidance book for parents involved in divorce situations. Included here is The Parents Book About Divorce , the companion volume to Dr. Gardner's widely utilized The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce. Parents involved in child custody litigation do well to read Child Custody Litigation: A Guide for Parents and Mental Health Professionals .
All the books in this category are bilbiotherapeutic. Although written for all children, both those in treatment and those who are not, the messages imparted are universally applicable and are designed to either prevent or reduce psychopathological processes. They involve straight talk such as The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce published in 1970 and now in its 20th printing. Others involve the story modality, e.g. Dorothy and the Lizard of Oz . All of them utilize attractive illustrations to enhance the efficacy of the imparted messages.
The Helping, Sharing, and Caring
is basically designed for all children, either to play with
one another or family members. It focuses on learning, values, ethics,
morals, empathy, sympathy, and safety. The game can also be useful in
treatment, especially for children with conduct disorders.
What's That on My Head? is not applicable to the therapeutic situation; rather, it is a fun family game that is intergenerational in scope. In short, grandparents, parents, and children can all play together, each enjoying the game at his or her own level. The four different levels of play allow for all levels of competence to feel challenged. In the educational situation it can be very useful for learning-disabled children as well as the gifted and talented, because the game teaches deductive reasoning.