Blake Brisbois, Psy.D., is a 2016 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Santa Barbara

Dissertation Committee:

  • Ronald Pilato, PSY.D. Dissertation Chair
  • Lee Weiser, PH.D. Second Faculty
  • Violet Oaklander, PH.D. External Expert


Violet Oaklander, play therapy, gestalt therapy, child therapy, adolescent therapy, phenomenological, adolescents, phenomenological research

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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experience of facilitating the Oaklander Model of Gestalt Play Therapy when treating children or adolescents in psychotherapy. Interviews were conducted with clinicians who have received training and use the Oaklander method in their practice of psychotherapy. Transcriptions of the interviews were coded and analyzed, revealing a consistent experience along various themes. Participants reported that this Gestalt method allows a non-linear method of helping clients to unfold according to the needs and challenges of each session. Participants also reported that the end goal of the Oaklander Gestalt model helped young clients express themselves through the use of customized strategies that included consideration of the experiences and physical capabilities of children. The model’s focus on the strength of the clinician-client, clinician-parent, and parent-client relationship facilitated self-awareness and sense of self through effective mind-body interventions. Further exploration by broadening the range, size, and type of sample studied is recommended. The electronic version of this dissertation is available free at Ohiolink ETD Center,


ORCID Scholar Number: 0000-0002-3443-0477