An increased number of children have entered the foster care system within the last 10 years and 80 percent of these cases are a result of extreme neglect. Children in foster care are in need of therapeutic services to address possible trauma. This poster session will present data collected through the development of an emotional regulation activity delivered through puppets for foster care children in a rural, low-socioeconomic-status community.
An increased number of children have been placed into the foster care system within the last ten years and 80% of these cases are a result of extreme neglect (Pickover & Brown, 2016). Children in foster care are in desperate need of therapeutic services to address possible trauma, grief and adjustment issues. Without treatment, children may progress developmentally and are likely to have future mental health problems (Clausen, Ruff, Wiederhold, Heineman, 2012). Play has long been a counseling approach used with children because of its expressive nature (Bratton, Ray & Rhine, 2005; Landreth, 2002). Play is essential when working with children as they lack the ability to think abstractly, adequately express themselves verbally and understand complex issues (Clause, et al, 2012). Play encourages children to make sense of their experiences and allows the counselor to be involved in the child’s experiences (Bratton, Ray, Edwards, Landreth, 2002). This presentation will introduce an emotional regulation activity through puppets and play.
Initiate a dialogue in the counseling community that centers on foster care, integrative play and counseling services.
Discuss our current research findings related to puppet play and emotional regulation from the perspective of foster children and related staff.
Demonstrate how counselors can incorporate puppet play into their professional practice and selection of counseling interventions to aid clients.
Associate Professor, CMHC Program Coordinator,
Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine Program, Assistant Professor,
Boston University School of Medicine