Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

MSW/MA Social Work and Child Development

First Advisor

Cindy Puccio

Second Advisor

Patricia Hanley


The purpose of this exploratory case study is to develop an initial understanding of the phenomenon of various themes and patterns that arise in play therapy sessions while working with neurodiverse preschoolers who have experienced trauma. The focus of this multiple case study design is to provide an insight into working with a complex demographic of children within the context and nature of Child-Centered Play Therapy. The play therapy sessions were conducted with three four-year-old children in a therapeutic preschool setting. The findings show the significance of identifying themes and patterns that emerge in children’s play, while considering the child’s diagnosis and experienced trauma. Lastly, identifying the trends in children’s play helps to provide an initial understanding of what each child is trying to communicate through their external and internal behaviors.

Included in

Psychology Commons