Play Therapy and the NMT Model

I just finished reading an article in the Journal of Play Therapy titled “Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics in a Therapeutic Preschool: Implications for Work With Children With Complex Neuropsychiatric Problems.” (now that is some title).

Neurosequential Model

The basic findings of the study involved the use of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics on the social-emotional development and behavior of children participating in a therapeutic preschool program. Results showed that the use of the Neurosequential Model to determine the nature, timing, and amount of developmentally appropriate activities and interventions in the therapeutic preschool did improve the social-emotional development of the children. Interventions and activities were provided in the context of Play Therapy that included parents and school staff. Follow up studies at 6 and 12 months showed the gains were retained. The instrument used to access these changes was the CBCL (Child Behavior Checklist).

Two key assumptions of the model are (1) therapeutic and educational, efforts are most effective when they are provided in a sequential manner that replicates the organization of the brain and its development and (2) therapeutic interventions must provide  patterns and frequency of experiences that will activate and influence the areas of the brain that are bringing about the dysfunction.

3 Basic Conclusions

The basic conclusions of this preliminary study (because of its small sample size) were:

  1.  the inclusion of NMT assessment and recommended interventions in programs serving young children with behavioral problems can help improve social and emotional regulation. The NMT approach has proven useful in providing a clear picture of the developmental strengths and weaknesses of children assessed with this model.
  2.  Well-trained staff that provide supportive and consistent care is an essential component of this program. These mental health and education professionals provide the necessary patterned, repetitive experiences that helped soothe, calm, and re-regulate the children with whom they worked. The involvement of nurturing staff providing small reparative experiences important for gains in social and emotional functioning were necessary for the child’s later success in their next educational setting.
  3. These studies show that by integrating patterned, repetitive somatosensory activities into the educational environment in consistent, predictable ways throughout the day can help negative behaviors to be diminished.

Family Christian Counseling Center is one of only a few places in the state of Arizona that have certified therapists in the NMT Model of Therapeutics.  The Center also uses the Child Behavior Checklist to aid in its diagnosis of children.

If you would like to read more about the Centers use of the NMT Model please click on this link.

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