How to Become a Registered Play Therapist

Play Therapy and Childhood Trauma Training in Fairfax, VA

Experiential training programs to help you better serve children and families in need. Read below for more information about our upcoming programs in Northern Virginia.

  • 2016 Calendar
  • Program Information
  • Faculty
  • Additional Registration Information
  • Payment Information


Please check below for information related to Continuing Education for specific programs.


This two-day didactic and experiential workshop is designed to provide a rationale for group play therapy; an overview of basic principles of play therapy and application within groups; an explanation of the neurobiological impact of stress and trauma on children and their families; and presents a series of integrative, playful group activities that can be utilized to address affective and behavioral manifestations of acute and chronic stress in children. This workshop will include experiential work as well as didactic presentation of material. Group play therapy is one of the most widely used approaches in addressing a range of social, behavioral, and emotional difficulties. Participants will learn to facilitate specific integrative strategies to engage group members and conduct group play therapy sessions with young and school-aged children.

Instructor: Jennifer Shaw, Psy.D.


Children on the autism spectrum struggle with communication and connection to the outside world. This workshop will discuss ways to help parents and caretakers establish and enhance a warm, structured, playful, and connected relationship with their children. Drawing on relationship-focused, developmental, and play therapy approaches, this two-day workshop will present an integrated approach designed to support and enhance parent-child dyadic interactions. Based on a synthesis of research identifying the core deficits of autism underlying outward behaviors, this workshop will explore how these challenges disrupt the guided participation relationship between parent and child, reducing opportunities for playful engagement and learning. Dr. Cobb will emphasize how play therapy techniques and other relationship-based strategies can move families beyond crisis toward an improved quality of life.

Instructor: Jodi Cobb, Ph.D., LMFT


This workshop is designed to provide a basic understanding of play and family therapy and the basic principles promoted by each approach. This workshop is for play therapists who may find it challenging to incorporate family therapy into their child therapy work. A number of family play therapy approaches and activities will be presented and practiced. In addition, attachment-based family therapy will be highlighted using active, dynamic, playful interactions between parents and their children. Participants will have practice formulating problems from a systemic point of view.

Instructor: Malvolia Gregory, MFT


The utilization of CBT with anxiety is an evidence-based approach. However, CBT must be adapted to young children by incorporating engaging and playful activities to address this important and debilitating issue. A brief overview of CBT will be provided, followed by an overview of play therapy principles, and specific interventions designed to help children and their parents decrease anxious thoughts and feelings.

Instructor: Andrea Driggs McLeod, LCSW, RPT-S


This workshop is designed to provide participants with a structured and manualized assessment process that uses play therapy principles and techniques as the theoretical framework. This assessment tool has been developed over the last twenty years of working with children who have histories of trauma. Characteristically, these children do not volunteer information, may not be emotionally or cognitively capable of formulating accurate perceptions and communicating those perceptions, and may feel hesitant to repeat their stories after multiple interviews or evaluations. The aim of this assessment process is to give children the time they need to become familiar with clinicians and therapy environments as well as find their own ways of processing difficult emotions at their own pace. Deeply reliant on the expressive arts, this assessment approach invites children to use play, art, and sand therapy techniques in order to externalize whatever is on their mind. Clinicians are encouraged to document thematic material in children's play, listen to, and invite metaphors, and craft comments and questions.

Instructor: Myriam Goldin, LCSW, RPT-S

December 4-6 (Sun-Tue) Sand Therapy Integrated with Play Therapy: Theory and Application

This course will explore the assessment and therapeutic potential of sand therapy integrated with play therapy, reviewing the theoretical models of Lowenfeld and Kalff. Information will be provided on necessary equipment for conducting sand therapy and primary emphasis will be placed on experiential opportunities (each person builds and shares a sandtray), "reading sandtrays," as well as therapy posture and a range of possible ways to process trays. Incorporating sand with play therapy will be highlighted.

Instructor: Dr. Eliana Gil


Go to: for information and registration. Sue Bratton, Larry Rubin, Suzanne Fincher, Eliana Gil and others.

Dr. Eliana Gil is part of a training team that provides relevant, practical, and integrated trainings on a variety of topics related to play therapy and childhood trauma. Invited Faculty will provide specialized trainings on a variety of topics.

Special features of Starbright programs include:

  • Limited group size
  • Experiential participation
  • Clinical case presentations
  • Clinical skill building

For details and additional information regarding transportation, lodging, continuing education credits, cancellation policy and work scholarships click on Additional Registration Information tab.

Example of Daily Schedule: Six full hours per day

8:45 9:00 Arrival and coffee
9:00 10:30 Program
10:30 10:45 Break
10:45 12:15 Program
12:15 1:00 Lunch (On your own; brown bag encouraged)
1:00 2:30 Program
2:30 2:45 Break
2:45 5:00 Program

Eliana Gil, Ph.D., RPT-S, ATR

Director of the Starbright Training Institute, and Founding Partner and Psychotherapist, Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education

Jennifer Shaw, Psy.D. Founding Partner and Psychotherapist, Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education

Myriam Goldin, RPT-S Founding Partner and Psychotherapist, Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education

Jodi Cobb, Ph.D., LMFT, Psychotherapist, Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery & Education

Andrea Driggs McLeod, LCSW, RPT-S is a Certified Child Centered Play Therapist and has extgensive experience working with children with histories of trauma.

Malvolia Gregory, MFT, Intake Coordinator and Psychotherapist with Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education.


To be announced.


There are two major airports in the Northern Virginia area:Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles Airport. Ronald Reagan is approximately 30 minutes from the host site and Dulles airport is about the same distance. All trainings will be held in the Vienna, Virginia area.


We are happy to refer our workshop participants to the Homewood Suites by Hilton, located about 5 minutes from our offices.  We have worked out some good rates with this hotel and Dr. Gil personally visited it and found it to be clean, comfortable, pleasant, and very well situated from our offices.  They have extra amenities, including transportation to and from Starbright and the Metro; a full breakfast by an Ecuadorian chef; walking distance from the Silver Diner (now using a very healthy and natural menu), and across the way from some other nice restaurants.  There is a swimming pool and a nice dining area and courtyard.  The rooms are all suites with a kitchen area (my personal favorite when I'm on the road).  The rates for our partiticipants attending Thurs eve through Sunday is $209 per night on Thursdays (heavy volume night) but $109 for Friday and Saturday.  These are competitive rates for the area.  Please mention Starbright when you call for reservations and if you have questions, please contact Bob Duffey.

HOMEWOOD SUITES BY HILTON   8130 Porter Road, Falls Church, VA

703.560.6644  * will provide shuttle to Starbright Institute, as well as Dunn Loring Metro Station *

Continuing Education Credits:

Starbright Training Institute currently provides CE credits for play therapy.  Starbright Training Institute has been approved by the Association of Play Therapy to provide continuing education credits in play therapy.  Starbright Training Institute is an Approved Provider with APT (APT#96-029) and maintains full responsibility for the program.

Other CE Credits:  Contiuning Education Credits for many of our programs will be awarded by the Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) for some of the following professions listed below.  Please see course descriptions of each workshop to confirm if they are approved for the individual program and which professions are eligible to received CE credits for each specific training.

Continuing Education credits may be awarded by Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) for the following professions.

Psychologists: Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education credit programs. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Social Workers: CES, provider #1117, is approved as a Provider for Social Work Continuing Education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. CES maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB approval period: 10/15/15 through 10/15/18. Social Workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval.

Marriage and Family Therapists: Continuing education credit for Marriage & Family Therapists is awarded in the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, ME, MD, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA,WI and WY. CES maintains responsibility for this program.

Licensed Professional Counselors: CES is entitled to grant continuing education credit to LPCs in the following states:AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MA, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY. CES maintains responsibility for this program.
Who Should Attend: These training events are appropriate for mental health professionals who work with children, adolescents, and their families.

Skill Level: Due to the interdisciplinary audience these events attract, attendees are urged to review the training description to determine appropriateness for personal and professional goals. Content is appropriate for professionals with skills of beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Cancellation Policy:
Refunds will be made only if requested in writing. A 75% refund will be provided for registrants who send a cancellation notice postmarked no later than two weeks prior to the Intensive.  There is a $50 cancellation fee if no previous notice is provided.

ADA/Section 504 Policy: If you have special needs, please contact Dr. Gil at 703-980-2886 at least two weeks prior to the scheduled event.

Work Scholarships:
A limited number of "work scholarships" and partial-discount "hardship scholarships" are available upon written request. Please write a letter stating why you qualify for these scholarships to eliana gil,



Credit Card

  • Call in your credit card information to our secure phone: 703-980-2886
  • We currently accept Visa, MC, and Am Express.
  • Complete the credit card information requested on the Registration Form, in addition to your registration information and selections, then click "Submit" to send all information via email.
  • You will receive a "Confirmation" page when your information has been successfully submitted.


  • You may mail a check, along with a copy of your completed Registration Form, to:
  • Eliana Gil, Ph.D. 8626 Lee Highway, Suite 200,Fairfax, VA 22031
  • Please make checks payable to:  Starbright Training Institute


You may also pay using PayPal

If you have questions or if you require any additional information, please call us at(202) 257-2783