Researchers have long studied the concept of resilience in childhood to better understand why some children thrive despite harsh circumstances whereas others do not. While there is little consensus regarding the definition of resilience or the ability to fully account for successful outcomes in the field, the importance of an individual’s ability to positively adapt is clear (Luthar et al., 2000; Masten, 2001). The importance of fostering positive adaptation skills in childhood cannot be overlooked as a form of both prevention and early intervention. An estimated one in ten children suffers from a mental health issue significant enough to impact his or her functioning (Stagman and Cooper, 2010). Traditional talk therapy options are not generally as successful for small children due to their level of verbal and cognitive development (Landreth, 2012). Ginsburg (2011), a well-known American pediatrician posited seven components that help build resilience in children: competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. Ginsburg’s seven-factor model of resilience represents a strength-focused approach to child development, parenting, and intervention designed to foster opportunities and environments in which children can thrive. This article builds on Ginsburg’s theoretical framework and suggests strength-based play therapy interventions that may help children to develop these resilience traits.
Key words: Resilience, play therapy, children.
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