Integrating Play Therapy in the Home-Based Setting Module

Module Sections:

Applying the Murphy Family Vignette

In understanding the struggles Marcos and the Murphy family are facing, completing a thorough family and social history would be critical. There are several concerns that are apparent in establishing a working relationship with the family.

What attachment issues might be relevant with the Murphy family? How would you describe Marcos's attachment style: secure, insecure-avoidant, insecure- ambivalent, or insecure-disorganized? What assessment strategies might you utilize to understand this issue more fully?

Consider the struggles in the relationship between Marcos and Jeremiah and the influence of the parental father figure – the absence of Marcos's father and the inconsistency of Jeremiah's father. 

What assessment techniques could be utilized to understand family functioning? It is essential to include the three step assessment process described previously.

It would be helpful to include a combination of individual and family assessments that consider attachment issues, cultural issues and loss issues.

If attachment is an issue, there are several attachment activities that are mentioned in the module and in the resources that would assist the therapist in helping the family to overcome the attachment injuries and create a more secure family system.

What cultural issues should be considered in working with Marcos as well as the entire family?

Consider the cultural implications of using various strategies with the family. Mrs. Murphy is of Hispanic origin yet the therapist is not certain of the cultural origins of the children's fathers.  The children are often with their maternal grandmother and is this involvement out of necessity due to Mom's work schedule or because the children feel good about being there or because the grandmother has typically been a caregiver for the family?

As the therapist understands the various concerns for the Murphy family, establishing a course of treatment that includes all members is critical. This would involve activities that are goal directed and culturally sensitive. The activities chosen in play therapy should be part of a process of therapy that will assist the family in achieving a specific goal. For example, Marcos displays anger and aggression. If one goal is to assist him to more appropriately deal with anger, the activities chosen should help the therapist and family to understand the anger, assist Marcos in developing more appropriate ways to self-regulate and help the family to also more appropriately respond to Marcos.

What approach would you take in working with this family?

What would the advantages and disadvantages be to utilizing a:

Directive approach

Non-directive approach



Filial Therapy

Each of these approaches will offer unique opportunities to the family in teh resolution of the issues presented.

Audio Companion: Integrating Play Therapy