Developing a Teddy Bear Therapy Training Program for Family Therapists

Teddy bear therapy (TBT) represents an innovative application of family therapy within the context of child, and specifically play, psychotherapy. Drawing on play and storytelling, it entails the therapist and the (referred) child telling a story about a teddy bear that is facing difficulties similar to the child’s. Together, therapist and child explore how changes to the teddy, and the teddy’s relationships in the family system, bring about resolution of the teddy’s problem. TBT is, however, a relatively new therapeutic development and thus lacks comprehensive and systematic training. The objective of this article is to provide a blueprint for a TBT training program in family therapy. The investigation examined what content should be included and how it should be applied and includes a limited field study. This involved three therapists in South Africa who are experienced in the practice of TBT and who provided insight into content and training methods. The article identifies various principles for developing a comprehensive TBT training program for family therapists, both in terms of content and training procedures. It makes available the application and practice of child and play therapy within a family systems approach. © 2018 Australian Association of Family Therapy

Teddy bear therapy (TBT) represents an innovative application of family therapy within the context of child, and specifically play, psychotherapy. Drawing on play and storytelling, it entails the therapist and the (referred) child telling a story about a teddy bear that is facing difficulties similar to the child’s. Together, therapist and child explore how changes to the teddy, and the teddy’s relationships in the family system, bring about resolution of the teddy’s problem. TBT is, however, a relatively new therapeutic development and thus lacks comprehensive and systematic training. The objective of this article is to provide a blueprint for a TBT training program in family therapy. The investigation examined what content should be included and how it should be applied and includes a limited field study. This involved three therapists in South Africa who are experienced in the practice of TBT and who provided insight into content and training methods. The article identifies various principles for developing a comprehensive TBT training program for family therapists, both in terms of content and training procedures. It makes available the application and practice of child and play therapy within a family systems approach. © 2018 Australian Association of Family Therapy

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