Learning To Play Again: Rediscovering Our Early Selves To Become Better Adults

Rowman & Littlefield. May 2024. 208p. ISBN 9781538183229. $30. SELF-HELP
When success is measured by accomplishments, materialism, and bank accounts, it’s easy to forget to nurture the things that are essential to having a fulfilling life. People need downtime to unwind from busy lives and be self-aware in order to address their needs. It’s also important to be in supportive, healthy relationships that are joyous. Psychotherapist Smerling, a professional with extensive training and experience, has dedicated her career to assisting children and families. She has collaborated with fellow professionals to provide individuals a pathway to rediscover their younger selves and become more fulfilled adults. Smerling uses the metaphor of a sandbox to describe the freedom of play for children. She notes that adults forget to play. She introduces what she calls a “CARE package” based on the four pillars of child development—curiosity, awareness, resilience, and empathy—which become behavior tools for successful adults. Abuse and trauma are discussed but more information about the impact of both would have been welcome.
VERDICT Smerling’s system for creating or restoring healthy relationships should appeal to readers interested in childhood development and connecting with their younger selves.
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