2020 Breakout Sessions

Althea Simpson, MBA, LCSW, RPT-S

Friday April 17, 2020 - 9:00am - 10:00am 

Primary Area: Special Topics/Seminal Theories - 1 Hour

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Enhances Social Relationships

General Session and Keynote: Parenting While Black: The Magic and Mystery of Making A Dollar Out of Fifteen Cents

Summary: Parenting while Black can lead to devastating consequences for children because often parents feel they need to be stricter to save their children form a “brutal society. As play therapy practitioners we must consider cultural uniqueness when working with parent/child dynamics in the Black community. This play therapy session will explore family dynamics and an overview of family systems theory, attachment theory and culture.  

Objectives: 1. Discuss how play therapy practitioners can reframe family systems theory when working with Black children and families. 2. Play therapy practitioners will explore key principles of family functioning, including flexibility and cohesion. 3. Explain a comprehensive perspective that takes systemic, developmental, and other common factors into account when utilizing play therapy with Black children and families.  


Scott Riviere, MS, LPC, RPT-S

Friday April 17, 2020 - 10:30am- 5:15pm 

Primary Area: Skills and Methods - 5 Hours

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Increase Personal Strengths

Rough Housing and Wrestling! Play Therapy with Boys

Overview: Boys often come into Play Therapy with a different style of play than girls. This play therapy workshop will focus on activities appropriate for young kids and teenagers. A focus will be placed on developing interventions that highlight the strengths of this diverse population.

Summary: This workshop will focus on the differences of working with boys vs. girls in a play therapy clinical setting. Young male clients are often referred due to behavior problems at home as well as school. Participants will be exposed to different play styles of boys as well as the value of rough and tumble play in the play therapy room. Topics covered include emotional regulation, conflict resolution, bullying, and developing a positive self-concept. Participants should come ready to play and learn several techniques to engage boys in play therapy treatment and help them thrive!

Objectives: 1. Identify the differences in the Play Styles of Boys when utilizing play therapy interventions. 2. Identify the Societal Roadblocks for Boys and implications for play therapy practice. 3. Identify a benefit of Androgynous Play activities when implementing play therapy strategies with boys. 4. Demonstrate several play therapy activities to Engage this population in treatment. 5. Demonstrate several play therapy activities to Empower this population in treatment. 6. List the benefits of Rough and Tumble Play when employing play therapy strategies.  


Yuvelqui Rattigan, LCSW-C and Denielle Randall, LCSW-C

Friday April 17, 2020 - 10:30am - 12:30pm 

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods - 2 Hours

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Fosters Emotional Wellness

"Check Yourself, Before You Wreck Yourself: Describing Play Therapy in an Urban Context”

Summary: Play therapy is a treatment modality that allows children to engage in their natural state of play. Children and adolescents in the urban community are often taught to hold in negative feelings and emotions. Attendees will be introduced to play therapy strategies to work effectively with the urban population.

Objectives: 1. Identify 3 or more contributing factors to the issues of diversity in play therapy 2. Describe the characteristics of play therapy in the urban context. 3. Identify 2 or more clinical best practices when working with the urban population. 4. Demonstrate 3 play therapy techniques that enhance engagement and assessment when working with the urban population.  

 


Tanya N. Lloyd, LCPC, ACS 

Friday April 17, 2020 - 10:30am- 12:30pm 

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods - 2 Hours

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Enhance Social Relationships/Increase Personal Strengths

"There's No Place Like Home: The Role of Play and Expressive Therapies in working with Transracial Adoptees"

Summary: This play therapy session will discuss the importance of learning about and respecting a child’s culture while helping adoptive parents find ways to keep adoptees connected to their heritage and culture. Play therapy and expressive therapy strategies will be discussed to assist attendees in providing culturally relevant clinical services to identified transracial adoptee populations. Attendees will discuss and explore their connections to racial identity.

Objectives: 1. Identify and discuss unique clinical challenges in play therapy practice with transracial adoptees. 2. Discuss and explore connections to racial identity and utilize insight to inform clinical practice in a play therapy context. 3. Demonstrate at least two play therapy techniques to assist clinicians in providing services to identified transracial adoptee populations.  


Dr. LaQuista Erinna, DBH, LCSW

Friday April 17, 2020 - 10:30am- 12:30pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics - 2 Hours

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Fosters Emotional Wellness

Serving While Black: Additional Risks of Mental Health Challenges Faced by Military Families of Color

Summary: This play therapy session will focus on the stressors military-connected families experience that typically other family populations don’t face. Military families are expected to adapt to changes, which puts them at greater risk for psychological symptoms that require them to receive treatment. Family-based play therapy interventions with military children and families can be an effective way to decrease stressors such as frequent relocation, multiple deployments of one or both parents, fluid family structure, and ambiguous loss that can become too overwhelming for many children of military families. Play therapy can also be useful in rebuilding attachments with children in military families. Objectives: 1. Discuss the impact of military deployment on service members and their families receiving play therapy treatment. 2. Assess risks to the psychological and emotional health of military families of color receiving play therapy treatment. 3. Discuss clinical processes and application of techniques for working with military families of color in play therapy practice.  


Sonia Hinds, APRN, PMH-BC, RPT-S 

Friday April 17, 2020 - 2:00pm- 5:15pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods - 3 Hours

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Enhance Social Relationships

Achieving Social Justice by Empowering Young Black Minds Through Directive Play Therapy 

Summary: Black boys in our society are faced with racism daily, resulting in some cases, fear, anxiety and even Race-Based Trauma. As an advocate for children, therapists utilizing play therapy in their work needs to be well informed about racism, social injustice and the impact these have on the lives of the children served. Directive play therapy approaches will be presented to connect with, impart empathy, healing and empowerment. Participants attending this play therapy workshop will practice using art, music and bibliotherapy.

Objectives: 1. Define cultural competence, cultural humility, racism and Race-Based Trauma and its impact on Black boys receiving play therapy treatment. 2. Describe ways in which children express awareness of cultural differences in the play therapy room. 3. Identify examples of transference and countertransference related to cultural issues in play therapy practice. 4. Demonstrate directive play therapy strategies to empower young Black minds. 5. Analyze 10 qualities needed to enable culturally competent therapists to advocate for Social Justice when utilizing play therapy with Black boys.  


Patricia Baldwin-Dennis, LPC, Jennifer A. McPherson, MS, EMBA, LPC, NCC, Montigus Jackson, LMHC, CAMS, and Leeshe Grimes, NCC, LGPC

Friday April 17, 2020 - 2:00pm- 5:15pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics/Seminal Theories - 3 Hours

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Enhance Social Relationships/Increases Personal Strengths

Domestic Violence: Healing Families of Color Through Awareness and Effective Treatment

Summary: This panel will engage play therapy practitioners in a discussion that will explore domestic violence in the Black community. Effective domestic violence treatment in the Black community must recognize the ineffectiveness of stressing separation of the family. Evidence suggests that Black children and adolescents’ rates of domestic violence victimization are higher compared to other segments of the population. This session will explore a family systems approach to using play therapy with children and families with challenging family dynamics. Attendees will explore the effectiveness of play therapy interventions to help individuals and families affected by domestic violence.

Objectives: 1. Identify and discuss social supports and the importance of family relationships in the Black community. 2. Discuss the cultural context and barriers communities of color face when it comes to seeking treatment. 3. Discuss mandated reporting requirements of child and adolescent disclosure of domestic violence exposure in play therapy practice. 4. Demonstrate play therapy techniques to assess and engage children and families in treatment. 


Dr. Ifeanyi Olele DO, MBA, MS 

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 9:00am- 10:30am  

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods - 1.5 Hours

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication

General Session & Keynote: The Impact of Depression and Suicide in the Black Community

Summary: No matter how common, depression is a serious mental health condition that plague communities of color because of the stigma around mental health. This play therapy session will describe depression and suicide among members of the Black community with the goal of identifying prevalence of depression, risk factors, treatment-seeking behaviors, and treatment-seeking barriers. Utilizing play therapy as an alternative therapy tool in the Black community can recast perceptions, cognitions, and behaviors about receiving treatment for symptoms of depression.

Objectives: 1. Explain how the stigma of depression is affecting children and families in the black community and the importance for including culturally relevant interventions in the play therapy process. 2. Explain the benefits of using culturally relevant language when implementing interventions during the course of play therapy. 3. Discuss the many facets of depression in Black populations and how it is treated by psychiatrists and therapists. 


Dr. Ajita Robinson, NCC, LCPC-S

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 11:00am- 12:30pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication

The Cost of Making It: The Weight of Being the "First"

Summary: This session will introduce attendees to using expressive therapies such as play therapy with “first generation” adult clients. The facilitator will explore identified benefits of using play therapy with this adult population who experience stress, anxiety and relational issues relating to childhood experiences of poverty and trauma. Utilizing a case example, attendees will explore the losses and resiliency of adult clients and apply experiential and narrative approaches to identifying, naming and releasing generational patterns and re-writing ones’ story. Objectives: 1. Explore the impact of generational cycles of trauma and poverty on adult clients receiving play therapy treatment. 2. Describe strategies to help “first generation” adults to develop psychological and emotional mechanisms to balance and manage stressors. 3. Utilize expressive and narrative play therapy approaches to assist clients with processing and rewriting their journey. 


Sheri Mitschelen, LCSW, RPT-S

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 11:00am- 12:30pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods/Seminal Theories - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Enhance Social Relationships

Building and Enhancing Attachment through Theraplay®

Summary: Many parents are struggling with how to have a strong, positive relationships with their child in the busy world they live in these days. Theraplay® is a play therapy modality for children and their parents/caregivers to enhance attachment, self-esteem and trust in others. This play therapy workshop will introduce Theraplay® activities, which are directive play therapy activities that can be used in a variety of settings to enhance, strengthen and build attachment in the parent-child relationship. Participants will have an opportunity to view videos of and practice activities during this play therapy training.

Objectives: 1. Explain the four areas of Theraplay® (Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge) and how to incorporate them into play therapy settings. 2. Participants will describe how to introduce Theraplay® into play therapy sessions. 3. Demonstrate two Theraplay® activities that promote improved attachment between a parent and child in each of the four areas (Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge). 4. List three Theraplay® activities that can be used with groups or families receiving play therapy treatment.  


Connesia Handford M.S. and Ariel Marrero M.S.

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 11:00am- 12:30pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics- 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication

Culture, Consultation, and Connection: Building Culturally Informed Systems Through Interprofessional Collaboration

Summary: One important and too often forgotten role that play therapy professionals can accept is that of a consultant and collaborator in interprofessional team building. Interprofessional consultation is an essential component in providing culturally informed treatment in play therapy practice. Historically and currently, children and families of color are subjected to bias, prejudice, oppression, and trauma across educational, healthcare, and legal systems. Collaborating with other professionals across systems to create an effective and holistic treatment plan as well as adapt systems to be culturally sensitive is crucial for meeting the needs of communities of color. Through a culturally informed and playful lens, attendees will discuss how play therapy professionals can integrate interprofessional collaboration into their clinical routine to advocate for culturally informed procedures across systems and educate other professionals on issues such as implicit bias and systematic oppression.

Objectives: 1. Identify how interprofessional consultation and collaboration is a key component of the play therapy professional’s identity. 2. Identify how systemic oppression and bias impact the delivery of treatment for children and families of color receiving play therapy treatment. 3. Discuss the role of play therapy professionals as agents of change in interprofessional settings.  


Omeaka Jackson, LCPC

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 11:00am- 12:30pm  

Primary Area: Skills and Methods- 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Increases Personal Strengths 

Using Play Therapy to Improve Family Communication Skills 

Summary: Summary: Many families struggle with healthy communication skills. When parents listen to their children, it helps children feel loved and valued. A family systems approach can explore patterns of interaction and communication that facilitates positive or negative movement toward growth or dissolution. Utilizing play therapy can help families express feelings and problem-solve to improve communication.

Objectives: 1. Explore communication from a family systems perspective. 2. Discuss benefits of utilizing play therapy to improve family functioning. 3. Demonstrate play therapy strategies for teaching parents to interact positively with their children.


Maria Davis-Pierre, LMHC and Mawule A. Sevon, MA, NCSP, BCBA

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 2:00pm- 3:30pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Enhances Social Relationships

Black Kids on The Spectrum: Merging Cultural Competence Within The African-American Autism Community

Summary: This play therapy session will highlight the importance of cultural awareness when working with Black families of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The facilitators will analyze and explain cultural developments and biases Black parents face when seeking services for their children. The presenters discuss methods that can be used to coach play therapy professionals, parents, caregivers, and program leaders in shifting their practices to be more culturally responsible. This session will illustrate the current state of the field of Autism and play therapy in the areas of servicing diverse communities. Attendees will identify how biases can lead to “resistance” with families in the play therapy settings. Objectives: 1. Describe autism spectrum disorder and identify characteristics of children who have autism. 2. Discuss the importance of culturally responsive treatment of Black children with spectrum disorders receiving play therapy services. 3. Discuss potential clinician biases and unknown ableist views that may affect the outcomes of successful joining with Black parents in play therapy treatment. 4. Identify components of culturally responsive communication with the play therapy professionals and educators with children and parents in the autism community.  


Chanel McCord, MA, LPC 

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 2:00pm- 3:30pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Increases Personal Strengths

"Watch Your Mouth": Generational Healing through Positive Self-Talk

Summary: For generations, Black families and other communities of color have been reinforced to keep quiet on issues of mental health. The narrative that holds true in most families of color is that experiencing mental/emotional concerns equals weakness. This play therapy session will discuss how to help clients replace the negative generational narrative with one that promotes strength through addressing and healing. Attendees will be introduced to narratives that have been plaguing generations within the Black community and other communities of color and then given practical play therapy tools for implementation to help replace the narrative and promote generational healing. Objectives: 1. Identify and discuss the mental/emotional implications of negative self-talk narratives within individuals and families receiving play therapy services. 2. Discuss the benefits of using play therapy in helping clients establish a replacement narrative that promotes healthy and positive self-talk within communities of color. 3. Identify play therapy strategies to use with clients to promote a positive replacement narrative that reinforces healing.  


Zoe Shaw, MS, NCC, APC 

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 2:00pm- 3:30pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Enhances Social Relationships

Play as Worship: Intersections of Child Mental Health and Spirituality in the Black Church

Summary: Growing up in a Black church, the expectations were that children were to “be still” and “be quiet” or face often harsh negative consequences. In this play therapy session, attendees will look intently at the relationship between child spiritual development and improved mental health outcomes. Attendees will list the benefits of play therapy for child self-expression and healing.  

Objectives: 1. Explore play therapy as an expression of spiritual connection. 2. Explain the spiritual nature of children and how play therapy professionals can use of a spiritual connection to help children recover from psychological distress. 3. Examine how mental health is viewed and addressed in the Black church, while discussing the duality of spiritual practices and play therapy as healing agents conjointly.  


Shayne McNichols, LMSW

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 3:45pm- 5:15pm  

Primary Area: Skills and Methods - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Increases Personal Strengths

Trauma Informed Care: Compassion From the Inside Out

Summary: This interactive play therapy session is designed to equip helping professional with identifying clients who present with PTSD/trauma symptoms, while identifying the secondary trauma impact within themselves. Through identification, play therapy professionals will discuss how to engage with these clients to ensure healthy relationship development and increased learning outcomes. Additionally, play therapy professionals will identify how to address their own mental and emotional health needs through assessing and creating a self-care/compassion-fatigue combatting plan. 

Objectives: 1. Identify trauma symptoms in clients/families and how symptoms impact engagement in play therapy. 2. Identify and discuss ways to integrate play therapy and the trauma therapy experience relative to age, stage, and traumatic event. 3. Demonstrate play therapy techniques and attendees will create personal plans to address self-care needs to prevent and reduce the impact of Compassion Fatigue.  


Dr. Reginald Cunningham, LPC, LCPC

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 3:45pm- 5:15pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Fosters Emotional Wellness/Increases Personal Strengths

"If You Could Read My Mind": The Unique Mental Health Issues Facing African American Adolescent Boys

Summary: There are many reasons that Black boys and men don’t receive professional help, such as mistrust of the medical institutions, lack of medical insurance, the fallacious notion that misery and suffering are natural extensions of the Black male experience. Play therapy professionals will explore the origins of physical and psychological hurt and pain experienced by Black boys and men. This session will review strategies play therapy professionals can use to help Black boys and men heal.to improve emotional and behavioral functioning. Objectives: 1. Discuss how mental health conditions affect boys and men in the Black community. 2. Discuss engagement strategies that can assist young black males receiving play therapy treatment to identify, acknowledge and heal from hurt, shame, and guilt. 3. Identify at least two strategies that can be used in play therapy practice to assist in changing the narrative (stigma) around the subject of mental health in Black male youth.  


Stacey Patton, PhD

Saturday April 18, 2020 - 3:45pm- 5:15pm  

Spare the Rod: Decolonizing Black Parenting in 21st-Century America

Summary: Black parents are still twice as likely as white and Latino families to use corporal punishment on their children. Statistics from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System consistently show that black children are mistreated and killed by their family members at significantly higher rates than children of any other group. Many people mistakenly believe that “whupping” children is intrinsic to black culture and child welfare professionals are not prepared, either academically or in practice, to have this difficult conversation in an effective and efficient way with families, especially those from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. At the heart of the session will be conversations about all the ways that Black children can be included, loved and cared for in more generative and just ways. Drawing on history and public health research, this presentation not only address these myths and fears, but will also provide participants with the communication tools to navigate these longstanding cultural landmines.

Objectives: 1. Explain how corporal punishment in African American families is a byproduct of slavery, Jim Crow, state-sanctioned violence, racial discrimination, adult supremacy, and the intergenerational reproduction of child oppression. 2. Employ historical archives to help families understand the origins and historical evolution of corporal punishment in American life and debunk the myth that corporal punishment is unique to black culture and dispel the myth that black families use physical punishment significantly more than other groups. 3. Utilize medical science literature, research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), and other public health data on corporal punishment to quickly and effectively discuss the short and long-term harms of hitting children.  


Meyleen Velasquez, LCSW, PMH-C, RPT-S

Sunday April 19, 2020 - 10:00am- 12:00pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics/Skills and Methods/Seminal Theories - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Fosters Emotional Wellness/Increases Personal Strengths

Processing traumatic memories in the sand tray: Utilizing Postmodern and Jungian approaches to create safety and regulation.

Summary: Individuals exposed to prolonged, severe, or intense levels of stress experience changes in their neuronal makeup; and for children, these changes can lead to long-term adverse effects on their cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development. As the language center of the brain shuts-down during moments of terror and distress, using play therapy and other expressive means can increase the efficacy of trauma-informed services. Sandtray is a powerful intervention that can be integrated into play therapy practice to provide a safe setting to uncover and heal from distressing events and memories. This play therapy session will prepare participants on how to guide the unfolding and processing of traumatic memories in diverse populations using Jungian and Postmodern theories.  

Objectives: 1. Describe how the sandtray play therapy process allows children to process traumatic memories. 2. Apply regulating skills using the sandtray in play therapy. 3. Demonstrate postmodern sandtray play therapy skills to help clients from diverse backgrounds. 


Dr. Tiffany Stoner-Harris, LCPC, RPT-S and Dr. Asabi Dean

Sunday April 19, 2020 - 10:00am- 12:00pm  

Primary Area: Special Topics - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication

Responding to Trauma Through a Social Justice Lens: Play Therapy, Counseling, Advocacy and Beyond

Summary: Social justice advocacy is informed by experiences of poverty and exclusion by. Play therapy professionals will be guided through a discussion about individual/personal advocacy supports aimed at understanding rights and entitlements, including characteristics of race (racism), age (ageism), gender (sexism), religion, and sexuality (heterosexism). This session will identify strategies to help play therapy professionals address issues clients bring into therapy. Objectives: 1. Discuss the importance of practicing from a trauma-informed lens and the role of social justice in play therapy practice. 2. Discuss advocacy from a client perspective to improve mental health outcomes. 3. Explore the benefits of integrating play therapy in trauma-informed treatment interventions.  


Laura Heller, LGSW and Allie Perez, MSW

Sunday April 19, 2020 - 10:00am- 12:00pm  

Primary Area: Skills and Methods - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication/Increases Personal Strengths

Social Stories Expanded: A Trauma-Informed Intervention to Improve Teacher Engagement and Student Behavior

Summary: Social Stories support children's social and emotional learning and mitigating the impact of trauma through personalized stories. This workshop will demonstrate the use of social stories in play therapy to provide young children with developmentally appropriate ways to process life events, particularly traumatic ones. 

Objectives: 1. Identify non-traditional uses of social stories as they relate to common presenting concerns in play therapy (e.g. grief/loss, separation anxiety, transitions, feeling safe at school, etc.). 2. Prepare a social story that supports play therapy goals after developing knowledge of best practices for a standard social story and learning how to best modify the standard format to be trauma-informed and tailored to students' differing needs. 3. Practice presenting social stories to clients and client support systems to extend play therapy gains outside the therapy space.  


Shivonne Odom, LCPC, LPC, NCC

Sunday April 19, 2020 - 12:30pm- 2:00pm  

Primary Area: Skills and Methods - 1.5 Hours  

Therapeutic Powers of Play: Facilitates Communication

General Session - Lunch and Learn Keynote: African American Perinatal Mental Health & Trauma

Summary: This session will explain perinatal mental health in the African American community. Play therapy professionals will be introduced to signs and symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). There will be instruction on effective trauma treatment modalities that can be integrated into play therapy practice to help reduce rates of behavioral health disorders and transmission of caregiver trauma on children. Objectives: 1. Assess effective screening tools and the process for diagnosing Postpartum Depression. 2. Identify and discuss cultural and spiritual issues in perinatal mental health that allows children and families receiving play therapy services to work through and cope with traumatic experiences. 3. Discuss Intergenerational transmission of caregiver trauma and techniques for assisting children and families in play therapy treatment experiencing challenges.  


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