Trauma-Focused Integrated Play Therapy: A Treatment Model for Working with Traumatized Childeren Utilizing Child-Centered Play Therapy Integrated With CBT, and Other Expressive Therapies

Program Goals

This workshop will provide participants with a working knowledge of an integrated model,well-anchored in trauma theory and informed by current scientific knowledge as well as research.  Trauma-Focused Integrated Play Therapy is relationship-based and utilizes principles of child-centered play therapy in order to 1) allow children to self-direct; 2) give children an experience of control and mastery; and 3) permit children to access natural healing mechanisms such as post-trauma play.  By giving children opportunities to work in a permissive setting, clinicians observe and document how children utilize gradual exposure, gain an understanding of traumatic experiences, discharge affect, and begin to manage experiences that can feel overwhelming or frightening.  This model integrates directive strategies as needed, deepens metaphor work by amplifying the child’s ability to explore the material they externalize, and provides children with a safe, predictable environment for processing interpersonal trauma.

Program Schedule

The schedule will consist of didactic presentations, experiential work, and processing clinical case material.

Day One

10:00 – 10:15 Introductions and needs assessment:  Participant’s “wish list”
10:15 - 11:15 Brief Experiential Exercise and Discussion of Whole-Brain Activities
11:15 -11:30 BREAK
11:30 - 12:30 Didactic presentation of Trauma theory, the relevance of phenomenological experiences, and basic principles that anchor TFIPT
12:30 -  1:30 LUNCH
1:30 -  2:30 Assessment Strategies and Utilizing Play-Based Activities to Understand Children’s Unique Functioning
2:30 -  2:45 BREAK
2:45 -  5:00 Case Discussions and Setting the Context for Therapy

Day Two

10:00 – 11:00   Discussion of child-centered play therapy goals and principles, an integrated model using directive and non directive strategies and defining the three-phase model of treatment in TFIPT
10:00 - 11:00  Phase One Goals and Interventions
11:00 - 11:15 Break
11:15 - 12:30  Phase two treatment:  Addressing traumatic memories and integrating directive strategies with avoidant children:  The use of Post-Traumatic Play
12:30 -  1:30 LUNCH
1:30 -  2:30 Phase three treatment:  Relationship building, prevention work, and working with children in their family context
2:30 -  2:45  BREAK
2:45 -  5:00  Termination Planning Closure Exercise

Course Objectives

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

  • Provide at least two factors in trauma theory
  • Discuss a rationale for utilizing child-centered play therapy
  • List two play therapy ways in which children may feel comfortable showing their feelings
  • Name two play-therapy informed assessment strategies that might facilitate children’s self-disclosure
  • List the three phases of treatment with traumatized children
  • List two primary play therapy activities employed in Phase One of treatment
  • Describe two play-therapy informed directive strategies to help children address traumatic material
  • Define three characteristics of post-trauma play
  • List two play therapy interventions that might help “move” post-trauma play that has become “stuck”
  • Name two play therapy techniques that might facilitate termination of therapy

General Course Information

This course is limited to 10-15 participants and is designed to facilitate experiential work, group discussion, and processing of clinical material.  Participants will have ample opportunity to discuss their specific needs and clinical questions.  Participant feedback will be sought out throughout the day.

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

This event is sponsored by Starbright Training Institute which is approved by the Association for Play Therapy to offer continuing education specific to play therapy (APT Provider No. 96-029).  Commonwealth Educational Seminars may provide CEUs for four professions:  Social Work, Professional Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Psychology.  When workshop applications are approved, it will be listed on the website. Dr. Eliana Gil is the Director of Starbright (  and welcomes your comments and feedback to

Course instructor:  MyriamGoldin, LCSW, RPT-S, Founder and Partner of Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education.