Addressing Emotion Regulation with Children: Play, Verbalization of Feelings, and Reappraisal

Leon Hoffman, Tracy A. Prout, Timothy Rice, Margo Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emotion regulation difficulties are a central component of distress in childhood. The challenges children face in managing, understanding, and expressing difficult emotions can be addressed through a range of treatment approaches designed for school-aged children. Four therapies commonly used today–Child Centered Play Therapy, Mentalization Based Therapy for Children, Regulation Focused Therapy for Children, and Dialectic Behavior Therapy for Children–recognize the connection between behavior and emotion and the need to promote the child’s emotion regulation. In this paper we present a brief overview of each treatment and compare the ways in which they utilize play and employ reappraisal, a specific type of emotion regulation. Additionally, we highlight the centrality of verbalization of feelings across each of the four treatments. We propose that play, verbalization of feelings, and explicit and/or implicit reappraisal are common factors that promote emotion regulation in a wide range of psychotherapeutic approaches for children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

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