The Interpersonal Play Space (IPPS): an integrative group model in Art and Drama therapy for ASD diagnosed children

By: Gideon Zehavi, MA and Dvora Pur, MA

The autistic disorder (PDD) is defined in the DSM-IV as a severe and pervasive impairment in reciprocal social interaction skills, communication skills, or the presence of stereotyped behavior, interests and activities (1994).
The IPPS model provides a strong theoretical and clinical framework for co-facilitated groups of high functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosed latency aged children. It delineates a unique clinical model in Art and Drama Therapy through which ASD children can significantly enhance their interpersonal communication capacities.
The experiential arts based process supports the participants' developing Sense of Self (Stern, 2000), that is primary to the consequent expansion of interpersonal communication. Play within the IPPS allows participants to gradually experience greater levels of overlap and permeability between personal and interpersonal domains and between real and imaginary interactions.
By way of clinical examples the IPPS group process will be explored and discussed from four perspectives: a) the principle role of the therapist as "agent to the Self"; b) the significant contribution of the creative arts therapies to the treatment of ASD; c) the three operational stages of the group session; d) the IPPS model in context of Lev Vygotski's socially based developmental theory and Daniel Stern's object-relations theory.

Keywords:. Drama Therapy, Art Therapy, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Group Therapy, Interpersonal Play Space

Corresponding author: Gideon Zehavi, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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