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.

Party Hats on Monsters

A projective drawing technique, Dr. Crenshaw developed to address multiple fears, phobias, frightening dreams, nightmares, and PTSD symptoms in children is Party Hats on Monsters (Crenshaw, 2001). This technique was included in a review and recommended in �Fifteen Effective Play Therapy Techniques� (Hall, Kaduson, & Schaefer, 2002). This drawing strategy draws on both learning theory principles of titrated exposure to the feared stimulus and gradual desensitization as well as embedded suggestion based on the work of Milton Erickson that was later applied to children by Joyce Mills and Richard Crowley (1986). By the very act of trying to reproduce on paper the frightening image and discovering that no matter how hard they try they are unable to make it as scary as the image in their mind, they discover the power of defusing the fear by putting it out on paper and getting it out of their head. The embedded suggestions reinforce this notion by stating, for example, �It is very interesting what children discover when they put the scary monster out here on paper. They find it very hard to make it as scary as the picture in their head and they realize this monster is not as scary as they thought when they look at it in the light of the day. Also when you change the monster, shrink him, or put a party hat on him, he is no longer scary at all. The most amazing thing that children discover is that when they change the image out here on paper they can also change the scary image in their head. �

Here are two examples of Dr. Crenshaw's Party Hats on Monsters Technique: 

Drawing Step Directive # 1 (Picture by Ted, age 17, with a phobia of spiders) "Draw the spider as scary as you can make it. Try to make it as scary as the frightening image you have in your mind (see below)."  After the drawing is completed, ask if the drawing is as scary as the picture or image in their mind.  Invariably, they will say, "No."  I ask them if they would like to try again to make it as scary as the image in their mind, some will and some won�t, but usually with a second or more attempt they still can�t make the drawing as scary as the picture in their mind. I typically reflect, "Isn�t that interesting, no matter how hard you try you can�t make the picture out here on paper as scary as the image in your mind. There is something magical about putting it out here on paper, getting it out of your head, that it no longer looks so scary. Isn�t that amazing?'"

Drawing Step Directive # 2:  "Now I want you to have some fun with this next step. Draw the spider again, only this time change it so it is not so scary anymore or maybe make it not scary at all, perhaps even something that makes you laugh.  You could put a party hat on it, shrink it, use your imagination and see what you can change to that makes it no longer scary." Ted drew a �Damsel in Distress� from the old western movies when a Damsel would be tied to the railroad tracks and rescued at the last minute. He heartily enjoyed his transformation of the spider.



The projective drawing and storytelling strategies introduced in Dr. Crenshaw�s book, A Guidebook for Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy: A Projective Drawing and Storytelling Series, contain a story called, The �What-If� Walrus, that is also designed for children suffering anxiety.

Projective drawing and storytelling techniques have been a particularly beneficial strategy in Dr. Crenshaw�s clinical work with school-age and pre-adolescent children who have a difficult time sharing their internal world through direct verbal expression.

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


Crenshaw, D.A. (2001). Party hats on monsters: Drawing strategies to enable children to master their fears. In H. Kaduson & C. Schaefer (Eds.), 101 more favorite play therapy techniques (pp. 124-127). Northvale: NJ: Jason Aronson.

Hall, T. M., Kaduson, H. G., & Schaefer, C. (2002). Fifteen effective play therapy techniques, Professional Psychology, Research and Practice, 33, 515-522.

Mills, J. C., & Crowley, R. J. (1986). Therapeutic metaphors for children and the child within. New York: Brunner/Mazel.


Three-Step Anger Modulation Drawing Strategy


Please revisit to learn additional techniques, which will be added on.

For more projective techniques and their use, see Dr. Crenshaw's book: Engaging Resistant Children in Therapy: Projective Drawing and Storytelling Techniques.