Category: Child / Adolescent - Externalizing

PS11- #C80 - Turtle Magic: A Cognitive-Behavioral Play Therapy Intervention for Aggressive Preschool Children--A pilot study

Saturday, Nov 18
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Aggression / Disruptive Behaviors / Conduct Problems | Child Externalizing | Emotion Regulation

Cognitive-behavioral play therapy (CBPT), a treatment that integrates cognitive and behavioral concepts within a structured play therapy paradigm, is an empirically-based and developmentally appropriate treatment for young children with a range of problems (Knell & Dasari, 2009).Cognitive-behavioral play therapy techniques aim to teach children thinking skills, emotional control, and behavioral strategies to help them best cope with emotionally arousing situations. This study assessed the efficacy of a pilot intervention protocol, with skills and concepts adapted from CBPT, for preschool-aged (i.e. 4 to 5 year old) children who exhibit aggressive behavior in their preschool classroom. In this single-subject, multiple baseline design pilot study, three children who were identified as exhibiting aggressive behavior by their classroom teachers were recruited from an urban, poor, and diverse, special education preschool program in Queens, NY.  The three subjects participated in 8 CBPT intervention sessions at their preschool with an advanced doctoral student clinician. These sessions were video-recorded and coded for adherence to the manual. Data was collected to assess frequency and intensity of specific target behaviors using teacher rating scales (Caregiver-Teacher Report Form), daily teacher-reported behavioral observations (i.e. daily observation logs), and coding of video recorded treatment sessions.

The researcher will be comparing baseline frequencies and T scores to post-intervention frequencies and T scores using a dependent means t-test as well as visual inspection of the data collected from teacher daily observation logs. Each videotaped treatment session will be evaluated using an adherence checklist, developed in accordance with each session’s treatment goals and strategies of implementation. Since little research has been conducted examining the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral play interventions with preschool-aged children who exhibit aggression in school, these findings may garner support for utilization of cognitive-behavioral play interventions across settings and schools.

Knell, S. M. (1993a) Cognitive-behavioral play therapy. Northvale,NJ: Jason Aronson.

Knell, S. M., & Dasari, M. (2009). CBPT: Implementing and integrating CBPT into clinical practice. In A. A. Drewes (Ed.) Blending play therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy: Evidence-based and other effective treatments and techniques (pp. 321-352). Hoboken, NJ, US: John Wiley & Sons Inc.


Alexandra Mercurio

Long Island University, Post Campus
Ridgewood, New York

Kristen Protasiewicz

Long Island University, Post Campus

Christina Petitti

Long Island University, Post Campus

Eva Feindler

Director, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program
CWPOST/Long Island University
Brookville, New York