Play Therapy for Self-Exploration of Racism

Eliana Gil, Ph.D., RPT-S

Workshop Description and Goals

This workshop will focus play therapy participants and other mental health providers on a foundational exploration of racist attitudes and beliefs, using play therapy activities to challenge cognitive defenses. This will be a highly interactive workshop for play therapists and other professionals who are interested and invested in taking the first step towards making positive changes, identifying unchallenged beliefs, understanding where those beliefs emerged, and deciding which legacy “burdens” or “treasures” they bring forward and which to leave behind. All exploration will be done through the use of expressive therapy activities, and participants will have opportunities to interact and discuss with others in smalls chat rooms, where decisions can be made about how much or little each person wishes to share with others.

Program Schedule

The daily schedule will consist of brief didactic presentations which will present some key points about racism and self-exploration, and will provide the context for the experiential work to be done. Play therapists will have the opportunity to begin to link how self-exploration informs the way they organize and provide clinical services, especially how to construct inclusive and anti-racist work environments.

This course is presented in one full-day (six hours).

Day One

12:00 – 01:30 Introductions and needs assessment:  Participant’s “wish list”Presentation on racism and the current culture of “doing better” in your personal and professional life: Experiential exercise 1: The Culture Genogram (understanding your own cultural background)
01:30 – 01:45 BREAK
01:45 - 03:15 Acknowledging racism, privilege, and hidden or open beliefs about race, racial differences, and racial commonalities. Experiential exercise:  Same and different

Day Two

12:00 – 01:30 The critical importance of self-exploration: Scratching the Surface. Experiential exercise #3:  Peeling back the onion
01:30 – 01:45 BREAK
01:45 - 03:15 A review of issues uncovered, and where to go next. Experiential Exercise #4:  Solution Circles.  This will identify the next steps after self-exploration and how to begin to take action personally and professionally.

Workshop Objectives

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

  • Define racism, prejudice, biases, cultural competence, cultural humility, anti-racism
  • Identify two values/beliefs that were passed down in your family
  • Identify two ways that racism touched your life and shaped some of your beliefs
  • List three human traits that serve as connectors across races
  • List two reasons that people focus on racial/cultural differences
  • List two ways that people marginalized by race might describe their experience
  • Describe one primary cultural value that has been learned in your family
  • Name one expressive therapy technique that can assist clients in acknowledging their racial values
  • Describe the concept of peeling back the onion
  • Name one way that discussing racism has challenged your point of view about race
  • List two steps that you can take to make your mental health services more culturally- attuned
  • Provide the directive for the culture genogram
  • List two expressive therapy techniques that can cause self-reflection about racism and racial biases


2018 Racism and Its Harmful Effects on Nondominant Racial-EthnicYouth And Youth-Serving Providers: A Call to Action for Organizational Change. The Journal of Adolescent Health and Medicine, Vol. 63, 2:257-261.Position Paper. DOI:

Kandi, I.X. (2019). How to be an Anti-Racist.  NY: Random House.

Miller, A. L., Stern, C., Neville, H. A. (2019). Research on Race and Racism. Journal of Social Justice, 75, 4:985-1293.

Paradies, Y. (2006). A systematic review of empirical research on self-reported racism and health.  International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 35, Issue 4, August 2006, Pages 888–901,

Singh, A.A. (2019). The racial healing handbook: Practical activities to help you challenge privilege, confront systemic racism and engage in collective healing. Oakland, CA:  New Harbinger Press.


Eliana Gil, Ph.D. is Founder and Senior Clinical Consultant of Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education and Senior Consultant of Starbright Training Institute.

Phone:  202-257-2783.


website: and and

Due to COVID-19 health concerns, this one-time online event has been approved by APT for (6 hrs) CONTACT CE Hours. 

General Course Information

This course is limited to 20 participants and is designed to facilitate experiential work, group discussion, and processing of personal material.  Participants will have ample opportunity to discuss their specific needs and clinical questions.  Participant feedback will be sought out throughout the two-session, 6 hour class.

Clinical case discussions will adhere to HIPPA regulations regarding client confidentiality.

Target audience is Mental Health Professionals: Social Workers, Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed marriage and Family Therapists.

The program is Beginning Level

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: Myriam Goldin, LCSW; RPT-S, Director of Starbright Training Institute.  Phone: 703-679-7054   .  Email:   Web Page:

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 facilities are handicap accessible. Individuals needing special accommodations, please contact: Myriam Goldin, or by phone: 703-679-7054

For information about continuing education credit, fees, and deadlines for cancellations/refunds, please see 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:  703-679-7054.


Web Page:

Continuing Education Credits:

Starbright Training Institute is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy.  APT approved Provider #96-029.   STI maintains responsibility for the program.

Continuing Education Credit is pending through Commonwealth Educational Seminars for the following professions:


Commonwealth Educational Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Commonwealth Educational Seminars maintains responsibility for these programs and their content.

Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors:

Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for LPCs/LMHCs. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Social Workers:

Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Social Workers. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for Social Workers. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

If applicable: Social Workers – New York State

Commonwealth Educational Seminars is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers. #SW-0444.

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists:

Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for LMFTs. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

There is no known commercial support nor conflict of interest for this program.

For further information please contact Commonwealth Educational Seminars, 1 (800) 376-3345,

Course Instructor Contact Information

Name:  Eliana Gil, Ph.D.



Phone:  202-257-2783