Windowframes: Learning the Art of Gestalt Play Therapy the Oaklander Way


Author: Peter Mortola, PhD

How do children emotionally heal and regain equilibrium after suffering trauma? How do adults understand and help them in a therapeutic relationship? These questions are at the heart of Violet Oaklander’s approach to play therapy and her methods for training adults to work with children and adolescents. In this text, Peter Mortola uses qualitative and narrative methods of analysis to document and detail Oaklander’s work in a two-week summer training attended by child therapists from around the world.

Peter Mortola says: This book is about two, related things. First, it is a book about Dr. Violet Oaklander’s particular approach to doing therapy with children and adolescents. Second, it is a book about her methods of training adults to do that kind of therapy with the children and adolescents with whom they work. These two things are related in that Dr. Oaklander’s methods of doing therapy with children and her methods of training adults share important parallels. These parallels are explored throughout the book, and the result is a text that should be of interest to anyone involved in or interested in working with children or adolescents in the counseling, therapeutic, or educational contexts. Essentially, I believe this book will be of interest to anyone who wrestles with a fundamental question that has captured my ongoing attention: How does one come to understand and work effectively with children?

Violet Oaklander says: “Thank you, Peter, for writing this book. I hope those of you who read it will gain from it an appreciation of what it takes to create and run such a training program, as well as insights into the complexity of teaching adults to learn how to work with children and adolescents in a vital and effective way.”

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