Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy: Projective Drawing and Storytelling Techniques


Publisher: Rhinebeck Child and Family Center Publications

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This book presents ten major story-telling techniques that contribute to dialog between children and therapists. The techniques consist of brief original stories that the therapist reads or tells to the child, which lay the groundwork for the child to express thoughts or feelings, first through a drawing about the story, followed by a story they tell on their own. The child’s drawings and stories then help the therapist to gain access to the internal world of the child by giving the child the tools to share their inner-life. Aggressive and anxious children, often distrustful of others, are usually reluctant to share their private thoughts, feelings, and fantasies. Often they lack the skills to identify and label the sometimes frightening inhabitants of their inner-world. Others may be in touch with the thoughts and feelings that trouble them, but are unable to find the words to express them. In addition, they often feel their inner-world is too scary to share with another, even a trusted person.

It is my hope that these techniques and strategies will serve as a model for the kind of creative drawing and storytelling activities that build bridges to a child’s inner-life, and will stimulate therapists to develop their own strategies to connect with these “disconnected” children.


“David Crenshaw is a master clinician who has the ability to combine theory and clinical application in his work with seriously at-risk youth. In his workshops, he draws the participants in through his unusual capacity to make his cases come alive. He has a wealth of information to teach and share.”

Nancy Boyd Webb, DSW, BCD, RPT-S
Distinguished Professor and James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies
Fordham University

“Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy by David A. Crenshaw, PhD., is one of the most engaging ‘how-to’ books in recent memory. Not only is it visually attractive, but it combines storytelling and drawing in ways that provide symbolic links to a child’s inner world. The stories themselves are gems and when combined with Dr. Crenshaw’s intuitive and sensitive questioning, they serve all children well. This book provides a major contribution that is of importance for the novice as well as for the more experienced practitioner. I only wish I had had it many years ago!”

Lois Carey, LCSW, RPT-S,
Past President, New York Association for Play Therapy.

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