Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


E. Kellogg, PhD


There is evidence that play therapy, used in a school-based setting, can be effective when working clinically with children who have experienced developmental trauma and exhibit the resulting maladaptive behaviors and symptoms. There are benefits and drawbacks to working within the schools to access children in need. Some benefits are consistent access to the clients and working with a team of other professionals to meet children’s needs. Drawbacks can be the lack of access to families and the infrequency of treatment. This paper explores the literature on the neurological impacts of developmental trauma on multiple levels of children’s functioning to provide a better understanding of the many challenging behaviors seen in schools. Also explored is how the age at which the trauma occurs has identifiable outcomes based on neurodevelopment. In particular, I will explore using Bruce Perry’s (2009) neurosequential model of therapeutics and how this framework can be applied to treatment and clinical decision making. Then considered is the question of effectiveness of treatment in a school-based setting based on the identified clinical approaches that are expected to work best, in particular, the use of play therapy. The overall purpose of this paper is to provide support for the strength of clinical work that does take place despite the limitations of the school-based setting.

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