Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Science, Human Service Agency Management



First Advisor

Jay Hardman

Second Advisor

Nicole Clover

Third Advisor

Sue Patterson


This thesis will focus on a new intervention approach that teaches individuals and families the skills needed to cope with life in appropriate ways.

Throughout history there have been many therapeutic theories and approaches that have clinically addressed the issues facing today's individuals and families. Play therapy and the family preservation model are the two theoretical approaches this thesis explores as key components in the design of a new intervention approach that meets the needs of individuals and families in their own environment.

This thesis proposes play therapy techniques that can be utilized by paraprofessionals, taking the teaching approach to the family through social service programs, schools, and community organizations. The social service programs this thesis explores which will best incorporate play therapy techniques are those of the family preservation model. However, most program designs still take a clinical intervention approach and provide services only as a response to a crisis. Thus, many children and families are not receiving true prevention services.

The resolution to this problem is combining the approaches of play therapy and family preservation with a program model that utilizes paraprofessionals, school, and community organizations already in place. In order to really teach the skills needed, new intervention approaches much be shared. [n the past traditional talking and l lecturing have failed to teach with most of the individuals and families being served.

This thesis proposes an activity book that addresses feeling, communication, and problem solving skills in fun and interactive ways. This thesis further focuses on the theory that approaching individuals and families in this manner better teaches the primary skills needed, as well as brings the family closer.

A team of five family preservation team members reviewed the activity book and conducted several interventions with individuals and families, utilizing the activity deemed appropriate. Four of the team members completed a thirty-question survey rating their opinions of the activity book, as well as discussed opinions further in a group interview.

Results of the survey and interview produced significant evidence that the activity book is targeted for an appropriate audience, as well as provided new and effective approaches for working with individuals and families struggling to learn the basic feeling, communication, and problem solving skills needed to cope with life issues.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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