Kids' Club Letters
Narrative Tools for Stimulating Process and Dialogue in Therapy Groups for Children and Adolescents
Routledge – 2010 – 256 pages
Kids' Club Letters provides an innovative approach to group psychotherapy for school-aged children who experience a range of social and emotional problems. A narrative therapy approach is adapted, taking the form of letters written by the therapist in the voice of a child who is asking for advice about interpersonal or emotional problems. The child in the letter is asking for guidance from the participants in the group. These letters were devised and written for the purpose of structuring responses in group psychotherapy, allowing the participants to address relevant issues for them individually and at the group level. The children in the groups had previously experienced difficulty discussing these issues spontaneously. Hence the 'Dear Group' letter format was born. The children did not know that the therapist had written the letters.
Letter writing has been a key practice in narrative therapy as a tool in extending the conversation. DeGangi and Nemiroff extend this practice into new and creative territories. Kids’ Club Letters offer clinicians practical and youth-centered approaches to group therapy. I have benefitted from the ideas offered by the authors, and I encourage others to reap the benefits by reading this ground-breaking book. -David Nylund, LCSW, PhD, Associate Professor of Social Work, Sacramento State University; Clinical Director, River Rock Counseling
In this very interesting book, the authors provide a testament to the powers of creativity and therapeutic distance in fostering a safe haven in which young people can process a range of issues. From the letters themselves, to the engaging clinical discussion, to the suggestions for activities, readers of all levels of experience will find something of value to enhance their understanding and practice of group psychotherapy. -Craig Haen, MA, RDT, CGP, LCAT, co-editor of Clinical Applications of Drama Therapy in Child and Adolescent Treatment"This book was very rich in demonstrating the use of narrative examples, group dialogues, and therapists' analyses of their choice and implementation of interventions. The reader will get a clear sense of how this group intervention looks, sounds, and feels to the authors in particular. Consequently, it made for interesting reading." - Alison Hahn Johnson, MSSW, LCSW, LMFT, ACSW in Social Work With Groups, Vol. 33, Issue 4
Part I: Identity Formation and Understanding Oneself. "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Who is the Smartest, Cleverest, Cutest, and Bravest of Them All?" Children Talk about Identity. The Square Peg in a Round Hole. Jack Sprat Got Too Fat, His Wife Got Too Lean. From Butterfly to Moth: Adolescent Metamorphosis. Back-stage or On-stage. To Be or Who to Be: The Question for Parents and the Budding Adolescent. An Unfocused Lens - The ADHD Child’s Perspective. "What’s Wrong With Me?" "Jumping Out of My Skin." Part II: Interpersonal Effectiveness. Living with a Short Fuse. Behind Closed Doors. Who’s the Boss? "I’m the Boss!" Alone on a Desert Island. Tell Me Master What to Do! I’ll Do Anything… To Be Popular Like You. The Sibling Battleground: Friend or Foe? Aliens and Earthlings: Which One Am I? I’m the Best! Right? Impulsivity vs. Social Inhibition: "I’m Too Scared to Speak" vs. "I Couldn’t Help Myself. Part III: Emotional Regulation. "Feeling Blue" Look Out! I’m Going to Explode! Wringing My Hands!
Georgia DeGangi, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is a clinical psychologist and an occupational therapist in private practice at ITS (Integrated Therapy Services) for Children and Families, Inc., in Kensington, MD. She is the co-author of Effective Parenting for the Hard-to-Manage Child and has over 25 years of experience working with infants, children, and their families.
Marc Nemiroff, PhD, is co-chair of the Infant/Young Child Mental Health Training Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry in Washington, D.C. In his private practice, he specializes in the treatment of pre-school and early elementary grade children.