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Brief Intervention Strategies: Jungian Therapy With Children and Adolescents

Jungian psychotherapy is an in-depth approach to life situations. The length of the process always depends on how extensively the individual wants to become involved. The interventions mentioned previously can all be applied to brief therapeutic work (Schwartz, 2007). The following discussion of play therapy and sandplay therapy demonstrates Jungian techniques that fall more into the brief intervention strategies.

Play Therapy

Adolescents are paradoxically both egocentric and idealistic. They view themselves as young gods, at the center of the universe, while at the same time they are capable of great self-sacrifice, willing to give their life for a cause. Contemporary Jungian therapists utilize art, play, drama, dance, and visualization as interventions and assessments with adolescents. Serial drawing is a technique in which children draw pictures each time they come to therapy. As the child feels more safe, he or she more freely projects his or her unconscious onto the paper bringing his or her unconscious to conscious. Jung utilized serial drawings on himself when he was emerging from his period of introspection after World War I (Allan, 1988). After traumatic events, children will often draw the images of witnessed scenes. Given the opportunity, they will attempt to repair the damage, by placing at the scene something that would have mitigated the harm. For example, immediately following the World Trade Center disaster, school children who had witnessed the death and destruction quietly took out paper and began to draw. Many drew sad buildings or the Statue of Liberty in mourning. Parents expressed concern because their children drew machine guns on the roofs of buildings near the World Trade Center. The parents were relieved when the artwork was interpreted as an attempt by the children to "make the situation right." In the children's unconscious (expressed in their artwork), they were self-soothing by rewriting history and making it possible to protect the buildings and the inhabitants and bring the events to a more satisfactory conclusions.

Sandplay is another play therapy technique that is often used with young children who are more likely to show a therapist their thoughts and feelings than use words to tell them. Sandplay is a technique that is particularly useful with children experiencing bereavement and loss (Green & Connolly, 2009) and in brief therapy (Taylor, 2009).

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