I discovered this book while reading for my Bachelor of Education at uni. It seems strange to be recommending what is basically the transcript of therapy sessions, as compelling reading, but I am. I kept waiting for some horrific incident to be revealed to explain Dibs behaviour. Yet is seems that systematic emotional neglect, can have such a dramatic effect on the developing child.

As a parent and an educator of young children it was fascinating to follow the transformation of Dibs and his family. Simply through non judgemental acceptance and Play Therapy his emotional needs were acknowledged.

Axline began simply by opening communication which acknowledged that Dibs had spoken, even if it was just to label the furniture in the room. She accepted his silence and did not try to coax him out of it or fill it.  Dibs was allowed to take the initiative in leading the Play Therapy.

Axline communicated her confidence that Dibs could live up to her expectations with something as simple as asking him if he could walk the rest of the way along the corridor on his own. This began the process of building his emotional independence without it being centred on her.

So much to think about, even in the way adults interact with emotionally balanced children.

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