Rhinebeck Child and Family Center, LLC            

Child Therapy Techniques - The Center for Practical Tools for Child and Adolescent Therapists

Dr. David A. Crenshaw, Director  

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Dr. Crenshaw is the proud recipient of The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hudson Valley Psychological Association.

Dr. Crenshaw is co-editing a series of books for Guilford.  Please click here for his Guilford books and ordering information.

 Rosie, first NY trial dog and what you can do to support Rosie's Law

"Heartfelt Feelings" Coloring Cards

Certified translations in 8 languages

Find out about Dr. Crenshaw and his books at Amazon Author Page

20% discount Code # 4W9CAPBK. Click for details and to order.

in print and e-book. Click to order with 20% discount Code 2E.

Dr. Crenshaw's latest books

Save 20% with Promotion Code 2E

Click here to order from Guilford

  Click here to order from Guilford

Dr. Crenshaw's book Bereavement: Counseling the Grieving throughout the Life Cycle is so successful that it is now in its third printing and earned an average customer rating of 4.0 out of 5 starsfrom Amazon.com      

Read Dr. Crenshaw's articles in Play Therapy magazine by clicking on title: "Should I Be Worried?"  "Selective Mutism" "Preverbal Trauma" "No Time or Place for Child's Play" "Sounds of Silence" "Symbolism of Windows and Doors in Play Therapy" "The Wonder of It All" "Rosie Goes to Court"  "Secrets Told to Ivy"  with permission of Play Therapy Magazine.  

Two New Poetry Books By David A. Crenshaw (click on titles for details)       The Vision of the Heart  and A Place of Healing and Hope

Books below are available in paperback at 20% discount. To order click on the book images below or simply call 1-800-462-6420.  Code # 4W9CAPBK.  If you want to read reviews first, click on book title under the book image.

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy: Wounded Spirits and Healing Paths,

Therapeutic Engagement of Children and Adolescents

Understanding and Treating the Aggression of Children: Fawns in Gorilla Suits

Understanding and Treating Aggressive Children: Fawns in Gorilla Suits

Handbook of Play Therapy with Aggressive Children


Evocative Strategies in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

Presentations- Including Upcoming
Testimonials from Presentations
Dr. Crenshaw's Publications
DVD on Grief
...Heart Symbol Strategies
...Heartfelt Feelings Coloring Card Kit
...Party Hats on Monsters
...Anger Modulation Drawings
...The Ship Prepares for Voyage
...The Magic Key
...The Fair Trial
...The Tree at the Top of the Hill
...Falling Leaves
...Holiday Writing Exercises
...Three Doors
Articles for Parents and Teachers
Article: Empathic Healer
Article: The Fawns beneath the Gorilla Suits
Article: The Hidden Dimensions
Article: Sounds of Children's Silence
Article: Windows to the Child�s Soul
Article: Selective Mutism
Article: Sealing off the Fountain
Article: by Liana Lowenstein, MSW
Article: Rosie the Golden Retriever
Poetry... Musings of the Soul
...Multicultural Language of Healing a Child
...Poetry Book-The Vision of the Heart
...Poetry Book-A Place of Healing and Hope
Tribute to Survivors of Domestic Violence
"My Wish for Children"
YouTube Videos
About Dr. Crenshaw

Mailing Address

David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP 205 Dogwood Court Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Phone:  (845) 489-8661

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Copyright � 2004-2015 by David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP. All rights reserved.

"Development of a Healthy Sense of Self in Children"

By David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP

      Children strive to find their niche, their place in the world where they can feel significant. They need to feel they belong and have something to contribute to their social world including their family. When healthy and positive paths to a sense of self are blocked, children may develop a distorted or deviant sense of self. In this case the child will make their mark and derive a sense of importance from behaviors that may be disruptive and have a negative impact in their interpersonal world.

     The late psychoanalyst Walter Bonime (1989) described the development of the sense of self, "Children who are frustrated in their efforts to develop a positive and healthy sense of self will make their mark in some, often disturbing, way. It may be necessary for the child to terrorize, bully or see people frightened, worried, crying, at their wits' end. Such a child may have to be first, to be captain all the time. The child may have to rebel against coercion, refuse to do anything expected of him or her, or insist on doing everything that is forbidden� (p. 136). The implication is that every child needs to feel significant in one way or another. If they can�t make their mark in some positive way, they will distinguish themselves in a deviant or distorted way.     

     Some children may be so discouraged in their efforts to establish a positive sense of self; they choose to distinguish themselves by being the meanest bully on the block. Others will make their mark in other distorted or deviant ways perhaps by being the class clown or by becoming a world-class martyr. No child starts out with the goal of developing a deviant or distorted sense of self. These are children who are discouraged and believe that the path to a more positive sense of self is blocked. As parents and teachers it is crucial that we notice these barriers and assist and encourage the child to overcome them. It is essential that we identify their individual and specific talents, strengths, interests, and positive personal qualities and look for opportunities to highlight these assets in children. Every child has something that he or she can uniquely contribute to the world around them and it is vital that parents, teachers, counselors and helpers of all kinds be diligent and determined in delineating these positive attributes. The acting-out child is almost always a very discouraged child who feels defeated in his or her efforts to make a positive impact on their interpersonal world.

     One of the stories I developed in the book: Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy is called "The Ballistic Stallion." It is about a girl, Sally, who was determined to ride a horse that her father had decided to sell because no one could ride it since it was so wild. As a result of her courage and determination she finally succeeded in riding the stallion in time to prevent her dad from selling the horse.


     I then ask the kids to think of a time when they succeeded in "overcoming the odds," when they did something that took courage and determination that perhaps no one thought they would be able to do, like the first time they went off the high diving board. Every child has a story to tell about such a moment in her/his life. We should ask for these stories and listen carefully and we will come away with fresh appreciation for the strengths of the child.

Bonime, W. (1989). Collaborative psychoanalysis. Cranbury, NJ:
Associated Universities Press.


Copyright � 2006 by David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP.  All rights reserved.