Analysis of "Dibs in Search of Self" by Virginia Axline

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 677 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Words: 677|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Summary of “Dibs in Search of Self”
  3. Analysis of Themes in “Dibs in Search of Self”
  4. Character Analysis
  5. Explanation of Therapeutic Techniques Used
  6. Significance and Impact of “Dibs in Search of Self”
  7. Conclusion
  8. References


Virginia Axline's book "Dibs in Search of Self" is a poignant exploration of a young boy's journey towards self-discovery and personal growth through therapeutic interventions. The book delves into the themes of parental neglect, child development, and the transformative power of therapy. This essay will delve into the psychological themes, character analysis, and therapeutic techniques utilized in “Dibs in Search of Self,” shedding light on its significance in understanding child psychology and the importance of early therapeutic interventions. Virginia Axline, the author, was a prominent child psychologist and pioneer of non-directive play therapy, making the book a valuable resource for psychologists, therapists, and educators.

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Summary of “Dibs in Search of Self”

"Dibs in Search of Self" follows the story of Dibs, a young boy from an affluent family, who is withdrawn, uncommunicative, and considered mentally retarded by his parents. Set in the 1950s, the book highlights the social and psychological challenges faced by Dibs and his journey towards discovering his true self. The central issues addressed in the book revolve around parental neglect, the impact of environment on child development, and the transformative power of therapeutic interventions.

Analysis of Themes in “Dibs in Search of Self”

The theme of self-discovery and personal growth is central to the narrative, as Dibs embarks on a journey towards understanding his own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Despite facing obstacles and the lack of support from his parents, Dibs demonstrates remarkable resilience and growth through the therapeutic process. In addition, the theme of parental neglect is deeply explored, underscoring the detrimental impact of neglectful parenting on a child's psychological well-being. Dibs' strained relationship with his parents and the subsequent therapeutic intervention by Virginia Axline bring to light the profound effect of parental neglect on child development.

Character Analysis

Dibs' character undergoes a profound transformation throughout the story. At the beginning of the book, he is portrayed as withdrawn, uncommunicative, and emotionally detached. However, with the guidance of the therapist, Dibs begins to express his emotions, thoughts, and inner turmoil, ultimately revealing his true self. Virginia Axline, on the other hand, embodies the role of a compassionate and empathetic therapist, utilizing non-directive play therapy to provide Dibs with a safe space for self-exploration and healing.

Explanation of Therapeutic Techniques Used

The non-directive play therapy employed by Virginia Axline serves as a pivotal therapeutic technique in the book. This approach emphasizes the importance of allowing the child to lead the therapeutic process, providing them with autonomy, control, and a safe environment for self-expression. Furthermore, the therapist's unconditional positive regard, empathy, and validation create a nurturing therapeutic environment, enabling Dibs to explore his emotions, confront his fears, and develop a sense of self-worth.

Significance and Impact of “Dibs in Search of Self”

The enduring impact of “Dibs in Search of Self” in the field of child psychology cannot be understated. The book sheds light on the importance of early intervention and therapeutic interventions in promoting healthy child development. It underscores the significance of providing children with a supportive and nurturing environment to address emotional and psychological challenges. Additionally, the book serves as a testament to the resilience of children and the transformative power of therapy in facilitating self-discovery and personal growth.

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In conclusion, “Dibs in Search of Self” offers a profound insight into the complexities of child psychology, the impact of parental neglect, and the transformative power of therapeutic interventions. By delving into the psychological themes, character analysis, and therapeutic techniques utilized in the book, we gain a deeper understanding of child development and the pivotal role of therapy in promoting emotional well-being. Virginia Axline's work continues to be a beacon of hope for both psychologists and individuals involved in child welfare, highlighting the significance of early intervention and empathetic therapeutic approaches in nurturing children's emotional and psychological well-being.


  1. Axline, (1964). Dibs in Search of Self. Ballantine Books.
  2. Lambert, M. J., & Lumry, A. A. (2013). The mechanisms of effectiveness of child therapy. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 42(4), 456-468.
  3. Landreth, G. (2012). Play therapy: The art of the relationship. Routledge.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Analysis of “Dibs in Search of Self” by Virginia Axline. (2024, January 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Analysis of “Dibs in Search of Self” by Virginia Axline.” GradesFixer, 31 Jan. 2024,
Analysis of “Dibs in Search of Self” by Virginia Axline. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Analysis of “Dibs in Search of Self” by Virginia Axline [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 31 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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