Integrating Play Therapy and Mental Health Consultation

Integrating Play Therapy and Mental Health Consultation

Krystal Vaughn (LSUHSC New Orleans, USA) and Erin Dugan (LSUHSC New Orleans, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2224-9.ch013
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Many parents and teachers are often confounded when it comes to figuring out a child's presenting issues. Mental health consultants are able to note the frequency, proximity, duration and intensity of and in which the behavior(s) occur (American Psychological Association, 2013; Henderson & Martin, 2014). These professionals are equipped with the tools, education, and experience and are able to gather information, observe, and assess the challenging behaviors or presenting issues in order to formulate and conceptualize a treatment plan for the child, their parent(s), and/or the school/center based setting. Additionally, mental health consultants may offer valuable feedback; increase of knowledge, skills and awareness; development of treatment plans; and implementation of the necessary interventions. This chapter seeks to provide professionals with the definitions, differences, structure, and implementation of a mental health consultation model.
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Child-Centered And Center-Based Consultation

Mental health consultation is generally requested in one of two forms: case consultation (child-centered) or program consultation (center-based). When a request for case consultation is received, it is typically on behalf of the individual child. This request for services may come directly from the caregiver or school around a challenging behavior or concern for impairment and/or at functioning level. For example, Abigail, a 3-year-old female in a private preschool, presents with social difficulties, such as taking turns with her peers as well as aggressive behaviors. The school reportedly informed Abigail’s single mother that she is not engaging with her peers appropriately and at times displays aggressive behaviors on the playground if another child has a desired object. Additionally, the teachers reported that she appears overstimulated by activity and noises in the gym. They describe Abigail as agitated in the gym, unable to play with peers, yelling, and, at times, covering her hears when the noise level rises. Perplexed by this presentation, as mom reportedly does not see such behavior in the home, she is referred for consultation to support the child’s social development within the classroom and school setting.

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