The classic of child therapy. Dibs will not talk. He will not play. He has locked himself in a very special prison. And he is alone. This is the true. Wonderful. User Review – Suzanne S. – Borders. I love this book, I have read it 3 or 4 times in the 10 years since I first got it. I am always glued to it when I pick it. Virginia Mae Axline () Dibs in search of self: personality development in play therapy Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Virginia Axline.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Dibs in Search of Self by Virginia M. The portrait of a little boy achieving, under therapy, a successful struggle for identity. Paperbackpages. Published June 12th by Ballantine Books first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Dibs: In Search of Self

To ask other readers questions about Dibs in Search of Selfplease sign up. Why do you think it was necessary for dibs to be referred to a counsellor? See 2 questions about Dibs in Search of Self…. Lists with This Book. May 15, jo rated it it was amazing Shelves: View all 24 comments. May 23, Sarah rated it it was ok. I read this for a psychology class and am interested in the commentary, as I know close searfh nothing about child psych.

The book is an easy read and can be completed in a couple hours. It is totally devoid of commentary or technique or explanation as to why Dibs’ personality radically shifts and changes in 6 months it was later explained that this probably took place over years, which just served to confuse me– why pretend that it took six months?

It is also devoid of any explanation of how th I read this for a psychology class and am interested in the commentary, as I know close to nothing about child psych. It is also devoid of any explanation of how the entire family is able to change without any input.

There is also a puzzling insinuation that Dibs had to be “fixed” before his family was willing to love him and once he did, they all stepped in to line. Sdlf was super creepy and didn’t make a lot of sense. I was able to follow the idea that Dibs’ parents were crazy so he started acting out, but the idea that the therapist was able to “fix” Dibs so that he wasn’t crazy– and that made his parents no longer crazy — was a logical road I pf able to travel down.

There is evidence that Dibs knew what his parents wanted but refused to give submit to them because they were pretty crazy and he wanted to punish them.

Then, something lf therapy helped him to change his ways and conform to his parents expectations ironic since what they seem to be trying to do is get him to esarch and accept himself – and so Dibs submits and his parents begin to love him and everyone lives happily ever after– but how could Dibs not see or be plagued by the fact that his parents’ love was clearly conditional and precarious?

How much sense does this make as a reasonable goal of therapy? How dangerous is it to think that, with the help of a professional, searchh can indeed “fix” your child to do what you want?


Why was it so important to the author that Dibs be a “genius”?

Why were the therapy timeline and sessions presented in a totally unrealistic way? I did not get the warm fuzzes that some of my classmates did from reading this book. View all 6 comments. Nov 06, Meaghan rated it it was ok Shelves: One of the earliest case studies of autism. However, it’s very dated and, at this point, I think it may do more harm than good.

Dibs in Search of Self : Personality Development in Play Therapy

Axline subscribed to the then-prevalent theory that autism was caused by emotionally distant parents, something that has proven to be false. This is useful in the sense that it shows the development of the field of child psychology, but no parent of an autistic child, or person trying to understand the causes of autism, would benefit from it.

View all 7 comments. May 25, Heidi virginiz it it was amazing Shelves: This is a beautiful story of a child who needed unconditional positive regard and a non-judgmental environment where he was allowed to call the shots in order to heal.

Read this, and you’ll know exactly what it’s like to be one of my child clients in a play therapy session. I have read this over and over and I will definitely read it again. It’s a true story written by a therapist about a little boy who turns out to be autistic but this was when autism was a little known condition. I can’t really say much more about it because I’ll wearch up sounding American and all that jazz!!

View all 3 comments. Jun 24, Rachel rated it really liked it. Jun 28, Iona Stewart rated it it was amazing. His powers of speech are limited and he fights and scratches. His parents are convinced he is mentally defective. Dibs attends an exclusive private school but they have not been able to help him.

Finally, it is decided that the author, a psychologist, begin to see Dibs for play therapy sessions. The book shows us how Sdlf A. The basics of this therapy are that Miss A. He is permitted to do what he wants and Miss A. The only time Miss A.

Dibs begins to freely express his negative feelings, particularly towards his father, who ignores him, and frequently plays with burying a father doll in the sand pit in the play room. Dibs gradually develops his speech and his teacher and mother report that his dibd is improving; his father begins to speak to him.

This is a wonderfully ih, edifying story that provides us with considerable insight as to how best to raise children, particularly vlrginia with emotional problems. After reading this book, Axine found myself googling the title and the author to get further information: However, I couldn’t find anything to support this theory.

There were a number of factors that made me believe that this couldn’t be a true account. Firstly, the therapy works very rapidly and very well, and I felt it slotted too nearly into the therapist’s theories and plans.

It seemed impossible that a child who is struggling so much would be so quick to recover. Secondly, the therapy works very rapidly: How could it work so fast, particularly when the child was in such an emotionally deprived environment? Sefl thirdly, though Axline claimed to have recorded all the sessions, I still felt that the child’s language is not authentic. It is not that it is impossible for a child to have such a huge vocabulary, but that so much of what he says seems to be written to make the reader feel sentimental.


It makes me feel lonesome not knowing God. This method seems to be about giving the child a space to play in which they can do whatever they wish, with no judgement from the therapist. It gives the child a safe space to simply be and do virginka is natural.

Clearly, this is a fundamentally important thing, and I fully believe that providing such a space would be helpful. But dibx the beginning of the book, Dibs doesn’t respond verbally, is quickly overwhelmed and lashes out at people, and, while clearly very smart, cannot control his emotions.

Other reviewers here have mentioned that he might have autism, but Axline gives no insight into this, though she mentions the word autism a few times early in the book. I find it hard to credit that simply allowing the child to play in a disb environment could be enough to utterly change his personality. Especially when his mother and father do not make any effort to change their behaviour until Dibs himself changes.

I also felt that Axline expects an awful lot of emotional maturity from a five-year-old. For selg, early in the book she says, “In my opinion, the therapeutic value of this kind kf psychotherapy is based upon the child’s experiencing searcn as a capable, responsible person in a relationship that tries to communicate to him two basic truths: The child must first learn self-respect and a sense of dignity that grows out of his increasing self-understanding before he can learn to respect the personalities and rights and differences of others.

She spends a lot of time making very clear that Dibs is not intellectually disabled. She claims to believe that Dibs should be respected and accepted no matter what, but it is also very important virgiina her that Dibs is not intellectually disabled, and the narrative seems to present the idea that, had Dibs been intellectually disabled, there would have been no point in trying to help him. I found this very distressing. Dec 09, Candice rated it it was amazing. Sarch is a story with little hope, but within in the pages is found, a life and a sense of self.

It was wonderful to watch this scared little boy grow up and fight his enemies. The pages flew by filled with discovery. In each moment I found myself wanting to find this child and hug ribs and make everything dibe. As I said I wanted it. As you said you wanted it. As we said we wanted it.

You said for me to go fight my enemies until they cried out and said they were sorry they hurt me. I found out my enemies and I fought them. But then i found out that I was not afraid anymore.

I found out that I am not unhappy when I feel love. Now I am big and strong and not afraid. Perhaps there is more depth in a relationship that has weathered some storms. Perhaps when we experience confidence and faith and hope that we see materialize before our eyes this builds up within us a feeling of inner strength, courage and security.