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CAPTP Colloquim: Hey Toy Man: a case of dramatic play

Date: Dec 21, 2017 11:45 am

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program

William Alanson White Institute

20 West 74th Street, Room 3A


Thursday, December 21, 2017

11:45 am to 1:00 pm


"Hey Toy Man: a case of dramatic play"


Henry Kronengold, Ph.D.,


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Dr. Henry Kronengold will present a child therapy case emphasizing the therapeutic process of working with Abby, a six-year-old adopted girl.  The sessions move from disjointed, to controlling, to increasingly imaginative as the child develops and searches for a narrative in the play.  As Abby emerges as a storyteller, her play deepens, and she and the therapist embark on a series of adventures that illuminate her confused feelings about her own history. The therapeutic relationship similarly evolves, becoming more engaged and mutual though at times also unpredictable. This paper, focused on play scenes and dialogue, is meant to bring the audience into the world of child therapy and to considers questions of interpretation, metaphor, verbalization, unconscious dialogue, and the role of theory at various points of child therapy.


It is designed to elicit questions rather than provide clear answers, as the case material invites the audience to reflect on the play, dialogue, and relationship between child and therapist. While the paper is meant to be considered from multiple theoretical and developmental perspectives, and is open to various interpretations, the power of a therapist’s entering into a child’s world to understand and co-create meaning with the child is discussed and emphasized.


Henry Kronengold, Ph.D., maintains a private practice in New York City.  He is a clinical supervisor and adjunct instructor at the Clinical Psychology Program at the City University of New York and Adjunct Instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Henry is the author of the recently published book of process-oriented case studies, Stories from child & adolescent psychotherapy: a curious space (Routledge Mental Health).