Motivation the key for therapists working with children

28 Feb 2013

A new book written by researchers from The University of Queensland and Queensland Health offers a unique guide for therapists and professionals to successfully work with children.

The Art and Science of Motivation: A therapist’s guide to working with children, to be launched on March 4, uses Self Determination Theory (SDT) to examine the effect of motivation and personality on a child’s behaviour.

Authors Professor Jenny Ziviani, Dr Anne Poulsen and Associate Professor Monica Cuskelly combine years of clinical and research experience to provide practitioners with a sound theoretical basis that supports the way they engage with children and their parents in therapy.

Professor Ziviani, from UQ’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said the book highlighted the importance of children and parents being involved in decisions around a child’s care and the need for practitioners to provide information in a comprehensible fashion.

“We encourage practitioners to provide choice where possible, as this helps children and parents feel they are active participants in therapy and therefore more likely to be committed to achieving their goals,” she said.

“We also examine the importance of the relationship between the therapist and the child/parent; if a child does not want to come along to therapy then this will adversely influence a whole range of outcomes.

“There are practical ways to build success into each stage of therapy by increasing confidence and competence in achieving therapy goals.”

The book features theoretical discussion coupled with examples and resources which illustrate the effectiveness of drawing on Self Determination Therapy when working with children with a range of physical, learning, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

A number of internationally-recognised practitioners have contributed to the discussion and shared their experiences for the benefit of child therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language pathologists and psychologists.

The book concludes by illustrating the journey of one individual, his parents and a therapist, placing the key concepts from the chapters in a personal context.

The Art and Science of Motivation: A therapist’s guide to working with children will be officially launched by Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Dr Peter Steer on Monday March 4, 2013. The launch will be held between 5pm and 7pm at Riverbend Books and Teahouse, Bulimba.

Media contact: Kirsten Rogan, Communications and Media, University of Queensland Faculty of Health Sciences, 07 3346 4713, 0412307594 or