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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Pretend play is used in many forms of child psychotherapy as a vehicle for change in the child. Imagination is the cornerstone of pretend play. This chapter reviews functions of pretend play in therapy and different theoretical approaches to the use of play in therapy. There is a focus on how imagination helps children resolve problems and process emotions. For example, fantasy in play has been associated with anxiety reduction. Children who can use fantasy in play benefit more from play interventions. Therefore, the play training research is reviewed, especially as a main focus of play training is to increase imagination ability. Research on improving play skills and implications for child therapy are discussed.

Keywords: imagination, fantasy, mechanisms of change, play processes, pretend play, processing of emotions, psychodynamic, working through

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