Applying the therapeutic power of play and expressive arts in contemporary crisis work

Exploring the process-oriented approach “Coping with the present while building for the future” while learning from practical examples from the field.


The first chapter of the book Play Therapy and Expressive Arts in a Complex and Dynamic World: Opportunities and Challenges Inside and Outside the Playroom begins by presenting the concept of “crisis” from a psychological and humanitarian perspective. Key elements are introduced to support the application of a process-oriented approach and the need for a co-created intervention with the aim of supporting people to be authors in shaping their lives and future. The elements described include the conception of crisis as the intersection between its nature, the characteristics of the individual and the support system, the shift from a continuum to contiguum logic, and the innovative concept of MAP (My Awareness Process).

After considerations on how to prepare for field work, the authors share the example of the process-oriented approach “Coping with the present while building for the future” (CPBF) supported by the Theatre Metaphor and a visual chart in which the elements (or actions) of an intervention or project are organised in chronological order. The concept of good practice (vs best practice) is presented as well as the grounding phase in crisis work, the key role of capacity building as a way to expand capabilities, opportunities and choices, and the ideal time to apply the Therapeutic Powers of Play, Play Therapy, and expressive arts. The actions described are enriched with practical examples from the field.


The authors


Isabella Cassina, MA, TP-S, CAGS (Expressive Arts Therapy), PhD Candidate is a Social Worker specialised in International Cooperation (IHEID Geneva) and Migration; Registered Therapeutic Play Specialist (APT Italy). She is international speaker, Head of Project Management and trainer at the International Academy for Play Therapy (INA) in Switzerland.


Claudio Mochi, MA, RP, RPT-S is psychologist and psychotherapist, Director of the training program at the International Academy for Play Therapy (INA) in Switzerland, Founder of the APT Italy. He has conducted trainings and projects in disaster mental health field internationally, and presented on Play Therapy and trauma in 6 continents and over 20 countries.



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