Neurobiology & Play Therapy

Jennifer Shaw, Psy.D.

Program Goals

This two-day didactic and experiential workshop provides rationale, theory, and practice for clinicians who work with traumatized children and youth, and their families. Special emphasis is placed on the neurobiological impact of early childhood trauma, ways in which affect and behavior are responses to a state of stress/distress, and the ways in which play therapy is well suited to address signs and symptoms of acute and chronic stress in children and youth.

An overview of normative child brain development is provided along with a review of ways in which chronic stress or toxic stress can arrest or disrupt typical development. With this foundation and review of current literature in place, participants will then learn specific strategies for approaching the current manifestation(s) of stress in the child and learn ways to engage caregivers in activities that calm the brain so family-focused recovery work can begin. Each neurobiological domain of impact will be reviewed in detail with emphasis on what the stressed brain needs from caregivers and primary environments. Special considerations for sexual trauma will be provided. Several play and expressive arts techniques and activities will be presented and practiced with participants, with opportunity for role-play and group processing. This workshop will include experiential work as well as didactic presentation of material.

Specifically, this program will:

  • Define the broad and specific impact of trauma and chronic stress on a child’s brain development
  • Discuss the theory and practice of play therapy with traumatized children and youth
  • Describe the neurobiological impact of Type I and Type II trauma on a developing brain.
  • Define ways in which integrative approaches to play therapy meets the emotional needs of a traumatized child
  • Review ways to engage caregivers in treatment, and in at-home practice of stress-reducing and parent-child strengthening activities during times of heightened stress
  • Review and practice (role-play) play and expressive arts therapy activities
  • Discuss special considerations and unique approaches to working with children with a history of sexual trauma
  • Discuss a number of resources for working with traumatized children and youth

Program Schedule

The daily schedule will consist of didactic presentations, experiential work, clinical case presentations, and group work to process specific clinical material

Schedule of Day 1

9:00- 09:30 Introductions and needs assessment: Review agenda and participant’s “wish list”
09:30 -10:45 Review of normative child brain development and a review of the literature on the impact of trauma and chronic stress.
10:45 -11:00 Break
11:00 -12:00 Overview of research on childhood trauma (types and definitions) and review of available research on play therapy approaches.
12:00 - 1:00 LUNCH
01:00 - 2:30 Setting the context for family-focused recovery (engaging caregivers with psychoeducation and coaching). Session transitions and mindfulness strategies reviewed and practiced to engage the children in the therapy hour and promote smooth transitions in and out of sessions.
02:30 - 2:45 Break
02:45 - 4:30 Play-based engagement and integrative approaches to working with children referred at a time of heightened stress (crisis or chronically stressed environments).

Schedule of Day 2

09:00 – 10:30 Practicing playful ways to facilitate affect identification, exploration, and affective communication to convey needs during a time of stress.
10:30 -10:45 Break
10:45 -12:00 Experiential work with expressive arts (directive and nondirective approaches), with group processing.
12:00 - 1:00 LUNCH
01:00 - 02:30 Case Presentation: Treatment Course with a Traumatized Child Family Engagement/Sessions; Art and Sand Tray
02:30 - 2:45 BREAK
02:45 - 4:30 Special Considerations for Sexual Traumatized Children; Cultural Considerations; Final Group Experiential Activity (clinician’s self-care)

Course Objectives

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

    • Define trauma and types of trauma
    • Describe the domains of impact of chronic stress or significant trauma on a child’s brain development
    • Describe the rationale for integrative approaches to play therapy with traumatized children and youth
    • State the theory that guides play therapy
    • List two special considerations for sexually traumatized children
    • List three ways acute or chronic stress can arrest or disrupt a child’s development without caregiver support and intervention
    • Identify two reasons that treatment cannot be completed without caregiver support and participation
    • Participate in expressive arts activities that utilize mindfulness strategies to enhance participation and promote relaxation within the play therapy setting
    • Apply information and skills acquired to clinical work with this population by facilitating two expressive arts group activities
    • Apply information and skills acquired to clinical work with this population by facilitating (3) play-based activities for children

 

General Course Information

This course is limited to 15 participants and is designed to facilitate group discussion, processing of clinical material, as well as to provide some opportunities for experiential work.  Participants will have ample opportunity to discuss their specific needs and clinical questions. Participant feedback will be sought out throughout the three day experience.

Monographs or CDs will be provided to each participant with resource information and supplemental reading material.  Clinical case discussions will adhere to HIPPA regulations regarding client confidentiality.

This event is hosted by Starbright Training Institute.  Starbright Training Institute is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy (APT Provider No. 96-029).  

Starbright Training Institute conducts two or three-day Intensives throughout the year.

Target audience is all Mental Health Professionals.

The program is: Beginning Level, Intermediate Level, Advanced Level.

This event is co-sponsored by Starbright Training Institute and the Institute for Continuing Education.  Starbright Training Institute is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy (APT Provider No. 96-029).  

Additional CE units, not specific to play therapy, will be provided through the Commonwealth Educational Seminars (www.commonwealtheducation.com).  There is an additional $30 fee for social work, counseling, MFT, and psychology CEs and checks are made out to Starbright Training Institute (or cash paid at training, no credit cards).

For information about continuing education credit, fees, and deadlines for cancellations/refunds, please see https://starbrighttraininginstitute.com/. It is the participant's responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state. 

Myriam Goldin, LCSW, RPT-S is Director of Starbright Training Institute.  Phone: 703-980-2886. Email: mgoldin@gilinstitute.com

Grievance Policy

Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) seeks to ensure equitable treatment of every person and to make every attempt to resolve grievances in a fair manner. Please submit a written grievance to: Dr. Jennifer Shaw, jshaw@gilinstitute.com,  703.402.7232. Grievances would receive, to the best of our ability, corrective action in order to prevent further problems.

Accommodations for the Differently Abled

Starbright Training Institute’s training facilities are handicap accessible. Individuals needing special accommodations please contact the Director of Starbright Training Institute. See contact information above.

Course Instructor Contact Information

Name: Dr. Jennifer Shaw

Bio: http://www.gilinstitute.com/about/team/shaw.php

 

Website:  www.gilinstitute.com

Email:      jshaw@gilinstitute.com

Phone:    704.402.7232