Nature in Play Therapy Training Retreat
in the North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains
Join us November 19-22, 2020
for a 3 day play therapy training experience in a beautiful mountain retreat setting!
Five play therapy trainers will gather with 45 therapists in the captivating Blue Ridge mountains of Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia for 22 hours of play therapy contact training hours (APT Approved Provider 12-321).
Join us to learn how to integrate and implement nature-based play therapy interventions rooted in a variety of theoretical orientations supporting the use of play as an effective agent of change, growth and healing.
The interventions introduced will provide methods to bring nature into play therapy practice with children, adolescents and families both in the playroom as well as bridging prescriptive healing interventions outside of sessions to promote family bonding.
This training event provides up to 22.5 hours of contact play therapy training (APT Approved Provider 12-321). Participants who are not in need of licensing CE hours may choose to participate in as many or as few of the training sessions as desired. Individual certificates will be provided for each training session for play therapy training.
In order to receive a CE certificate for licensing purposes all sessions and all 22.5 hours of training must be attended in full. See below for more information.
Continuing Education credit for this program is awarded by Commonwealth Educational
Seminars (CES) for the following professions:
Please note: It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards to
verify CE requirements for their state.
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. Social Workers completing this program
will receive 22.5 clinical hours of continuing education credit.
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. LPCs/LMHCs
completing this program will receive 22.5 hours of continuing education credit.
Practitioners are increasingly becoming aware of the
therapeutic healing and restorative power of nature.
There is an established and growing body of research evidence showing support for the theory that children who have opportunities to connect with nature gain the following benefits:
- reduction of stress
- increased focus and mental clarity
- enhanced creativity and problem-solving
- improved self-discipline
- exhibit more cooperativeness
- decreased depression and behavior problems.
Despite these research findings, paradoxically, children and families are more out-of-touch with nature than ever before. Land restrictions, fear of litigation, and safety concerns have all made their contribution to this ever increasing disconnect between the children, families and the natural world. Researchers are finding evidence that some of the behavioral disorders today are, in part, a consequence of this disconnect.
According to author and researcher Richard Louv, children are suffering something he refers to as Nature Deficit Disorder which speaks to the detrimental effects that can occur when children have decreased access to the world of nature. (images by Rachel Altvater)
Grounded in the therapeutic powers of play, this intensive 3 day training event will introduce practitioners to the utilization of nature’s multi-sensory items to intervene in varied childhood diagnoses and problem areas. Participants will learn how known play therapy interventions such as therapeutic storytelling, sand tray play therapy, Gestalt play therapy and many others can utilize sand, natural clay, gems and minerals, stones, feathers, shells, mandalas, nature sounds and other earth-based components within play therapy sessions. We will address ways to bring elements of nature into the totality of the play therapy process with review of theory and practical interventions for all stages of therapy from initial rapport building through connecting and joining interventions to the termination and closing process.
"Nature is a tool . . .
to help children experience not only the wider world, but themselves.” – Stephen Moss
Training methods will include PowerPoint presentation, discussion and hands-on experiential learning to provide the theoretical foundations of eco-psychology as related to the play therapy literature and the latest cutting-edge nature-based research in play therapy.
Participants will have the opportunity to go out in nature during the presentation for experiential play therapy activities.
This training provides 22 contact play therapy training hours (APT Provider 12-321).
Our Training Sessions
Session 1: Mindful Connecting & Joining Family & Group Play Therapy Interventions
Presented by all trainers collaboratively
Duration: 2 hours: .5 hours Seminal Theory; 1.5 hours Interventions
Description: In play therapy the very first encounter with a child client and the family in session is the essential first step of establishing therapeutic rapport. Playful ice-breaker Family and Group Play Therapy interventions are useful for initial connection and observational assessment for treatment planning purposes. This training session, based in research-based theory will introduce the benefits of play-based ice-breaker activities in Family and Group Play Therapy through experiential learning to facilitate communication, social connections.
- Explain the importance of child centered play therapy theory and rapport establishment in play therapy.
- Describe 3 benefits of connecting and joining interventions in family and/or group play therapy.
- Demonstrate 5 connecting and joining interventions in family and/or group play therapy.
- Develop 3 ways to use play as an agent of change to facilitate communication and enhance social relationships.
Session 2: Ethics of Self Care When Providing Play Therapy Services
Presented by Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, CPCS
Duration: 1 hours of Ethics
Description: In providing play therapy mindful awareness of self care is an ethical issue for the therapist. In order to be fully and truly present and attuned to the needs of our child clients and their families, we must have a regular practice of our own self care.
- Explain the ethical basis for the need for the therapist’s self care in providing play therapy services.
- Describe 3 benefits to our child and family clients when we observe regular practice of self care.
- Name 5 practical and impactful means of ensuring self care practice is observed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Session 3: NaturePlay: The Dynamic Duo of Nature and Play Therapy
Presented by Jamie Langley, LCSW, RPT-S
Duration: 3 Hours: .5 Seminal Theory, 1 Skills & Methods 1.5 Interventions
Play therapists have the ability to incorporate nature-based creative and expressive arts and play therapy activities to combine the therapeutic healing benefits of nature and play for both children and families. This session will examine the research literature regarding the mental health benefits of nature as a foundation for this retreat experience. Participants will experience interventions that involve elements of nature that can be incorporated by the play therapist for both inside the playroom as well as outside in nature. Participants will have the opportunity during the presentation to experience play-based interventions outdoors in nature for an experiential activity.
- Identify 3 reasons nature combining nature and play can be beneficial for children and families according to the research as considerations for play therapists.
- Participate in a nature-based play therapy activities and articulate how these can be included as part of play therapy sessions with children and/or families.
- Name at least two additional play based expressive arts or play therapy activities that include and involve elements of nature that can be conducted either inside or outside as part of the play therapy process.
- Identify at least two ways play based activities involving nature can improve self-regulation and creative problem-solving as part of increasing personal strengths in play therapy.
Session 4: Utilizing the Metaphorical Healing Elements of Mother Earth in Play Therapy
Presented by Janet Courtney, PhD
Duration: 3 Hours: .5 hour Seminal Theory; 1 hour Skills and Methods; 1.5 hour Interventions
In this engaging and experiential workshop based upon peer-reviewed literature that supports the therapeutic use of nature in therapy, participants will learn multiple play-based methods utilizing the metaphorical elements of natural objects—shells, feathers, sand, clay, gemstones and stones (think metamorphic, sedimentary, and igneous). With attention to multi-cultural sensitivity, we will discuss how nature crosses cultural barriers to be utilized within play therapy sessions in the playroom and outdoors with children and families. Several nature-based interventions will be presented that you can immediately put into practice including nature photography and also how to utilize the healing power of clay to create a Gestalt Play Therapy encounter to help address trauma-related issues within play therapy sessions. A brief case study, “Penguin Man Speaks” will be presented to ground theory into practice.
- Identify three ways in which nature-based interventions can be therapeutically utilized within play therapy sessions with children, adolescents and families.
- State one way that each of the following elements of nature (gemstones, feathers, shells, clay, sand) can be therapeutically integrated into play therapy sessions.
- Demonstrate how to implement at least three different nature-based interventions with clients during play therapy sessions.
- Demonstrate two ways how to implement clay in play therapy practice through hands-on interactive experiences to address trauma, and to promote a sense of empowerment and self-worth in clients.
Session 5: Incorporating Nature Sounds in Play Therapy
Presented by Rose LaPiere, LPC, ACS, RPT-S
Duration: 1.5 hours: .5 hour Seminal Theory, 1 hour Interventions
When we allow sound to enter into what we know we are connecting with the world around us and communication can begin. We are constantly taking in information through our senses and this allows us to decide if something is safe or dangerous. Learning how to pay attention to sound on purpose or in other words “focusing” helps to strengthen neural networks and allows the client to become aware of what is happening in their mind and body. Musical sounds made by nature and sounds made from natural materials will allow the identification of feelings and evoke a variety of feelings thereby expanding the child’s mind and body connection. In addition, learning how to bring in cues of safety through nature sounds can help regulate the client. Methods will be discussed illustrating how to incorporate nature sounds in play therapy. Therapist will be able to utilize these interventions immediately in their practice. Lecture, discussion, situational cases and experiential exercises will be utilized.
1) Describe how using nature sounds in play therapy will benefit a child.
2) List several nature based sounds and create a nature sound map that that outlines nervous system states of arousal.
3) Describe and execute at least five nature sound based play therapy techniques.
Session 6: Discovering Nature's Sensory Gifts in Play Therapy
Presented by Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, CPCS and Rose LaPiere, LPC, ACS, RPT-S
Duration: 1 hour Skills and Methods
This outdoor training session (weather permitting) provides participants an opportunity to use attunement and mindfulness skills to access greater awareness to sensory input available in Nature to enhance playful connection and play-based experiences with child and family clients.
1) Describe how using nature’s sensory gifts in play therapy will benefit a child and family.
2) Name the steps and sensory awareness skills practiced in the session that help to expand attunement and mindfulness.
3) Demonstrate at least three nature sensory based play therapy techniques.
Session 7: Play Therapy in Nature with Sandtray & Storytelling
Presented by Rosalind Heiko, PhD, RPT-S, ISST
Duration: 3 hours
Every successful journey story incorporates travel into the heart of the Great Forest-the archetypal source of both the challenges and resources in the psyche of every client and therapist. Becoming attuned to the outer world in nature, as well as the inner perception of the self, allows us to mindfully bring our inner and outer experience into a sense of experienced harmony within the play room. This training session draws from Jungian theory and is based in the literature addressing neurobiology and expressive play. This workshop will invite play therapists to participate in the sheltered container of nature play through various forms of storytelling to better understand the pathways our play therapy clients travel, as well as provide opportunities for self-reflection. We will learn play therapy techniques by creating playful nature sandtrays from gathered materials, coming to understand the symbolism of found objects such as feathers, stones, crystals, leaves, plants and bones; listen to a story that features deep connection to our rootedness in the natural world; participate in discussion about pertinent play therapy case examples; and explore the quiet in nature outside the classroom setting, as well as inside ourselves. The workshop will provide opportunities for experiential play, case vignettes, storytelling and discussion.
- Identify three (3) aspects of nature play using found objects for use with clients in practice.
- Recognize three (3) aspects of the differences between play therapy experiences in nature, as opposed to those activities in a therapeutic playroom setting.
- Describe at least two (2) theoretical approaches to the utilization of sand in play therapy.
- Describe how the therapeutic use of storytelling can be used in clinical practice to enhance relationship and attunement goals.
- Apply three (3) therapeutic powers of play therapy to the models of using sandplay and sandtray when working on clients’ self-expression, role of unconscious processes and in enhancing the relationship between therapist and client.
Session 8: Utilizing Nature-based Expressive Arts in Play Therapy
Presented by Janet Courtney, Ph.D., RPT-S and Jamie Lynn Langley, LCSW, RPT-S
Duration: 3 hours: .5 hour Seminal Theory; 1 hour Skills & Methods; 1 hour Interventions
The premise of including nature in expressive arts and play therapy sessions comes about because, not only is nature healing and restorative, but we are also providing additional opportunities for children to experience direct contact with nature. In a safe and holding environment, they can relate to the natural objects and materials utilized in session in a whole new way. Thus, nature acts as co-therapist to the healing process. Activities utilizing stones for healing, grounding and creative expression will be included in this experiential session. In one such activity, participants will learn how to utilize a powerful healing intervention called: “I KNOW MY YES’s and NO’s!” that helps to empower children to better clarify their decision making, boundary setting, and choices in life and can be applicable to children experiencing a wide range of diagnoses or problem areas. The activity is completed by expanding the metaphor to wrap a protective “blanket” to contain the stones. Participants will also explore and experience the use of nature mandalas with both a personal and group experience as a play therapy intervention for mindfulness that can promote self-regulation, improve connection, enhance creativity and reduce stressful or traumatic symptoms.
- Demonstrate two ways how to incorporate stones in play therapy practice through hands-on interactive experiences.
- Identify at least three healing benefits of expressive arts utilized within nature-based play therapy sessions.
- Explain three different therapeutic powers of play that Nature-based Expressive Arts in Play therapy meets.
- List at least two ways mandalas can be incorporated within nature-based play therapy to improve connection, enhance creativity and self-regulate.
Session 9: Bringing Mindfulness Practice and Nature Connections into the Play Room
Presented by Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, CPCS
Duration: 1 hour: .5 Seminal Theory, .5 Skills & Methods
The very essence of humanistic theoretical orientation in practice which is the basis of Child Centered Play Therapy theory is rooted in the practice of mindfulness which is defined as a practice of being fully present, in the moment without judgment. This training session teaches how to bring connections to Nature coupled with the practice of mindfulness into the play therapy process and experience in order to facilitate growth and healing for children and families.
- Describe the importance of cultivating mindfulness in play therapy
- Name 3 ways to incorporate Nature connections with mindfulness in play therapy
- Demonstrate 3 therapeutic ways to bring mind and body awareness together in the present moment with child and family clients.
Session 10: Integrating Somatic and Sensory Techniques in Play therapy
Presented by Rose LaPiere, LPC, RPT-S, ACS
Duration: 2 hour: .5 Seminal Theory, .5 Skills & Methods, 1 hour Interventions
Session 11: Closure & Termination Techniques for Group Play Therapy
Presented by All Trainers
Duration: 2 hours
When providing closed play therapy groups, the process of closure and completion is a fundamental and essential part of the therapeutic experience. This training session will review the termination process specific to play therapy groups with introduction to 5 group closure activities.
- Explain the clinical significance of the termination process specific to group play therapy
- Name 3 elements appropriate closure in group play therapy.
- List 5 play-based group play therapy closure intervention activities.
- Develop 3 ways to use play as an agent of change to facilitate communication and enhance social relationships
Janet Courtney, PhD, RPT-S
Dr. Janet Courtney, PhD, RPT-S is Founder of FirstPlay® Therapy and a TEDx Speaker. Since 1997, she has been an Adjunct Professor at Barry University, Miami, Florida where she currently oversees the Play Therapy course curriculum. She is immediate past Chair of the “Association for Play Therapy Ethics and Practice committee” and former President of the Florida Association for Play Therapy.
Dr. Courtney is excited to announce her new 2020 books, “Healing Child and Family Trauma through Expressive and Play Therapies: Art, Nature, Storytelling, Body, and Mindfulness,” AND “Infant Play Therapy: Foundations, Models, Programs, and Practice,” She is also author and co-editor of the groundbreaking book, “Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy: An Ethical and Clinical Guide, ” and is published in the International Journal of Play Therapy, the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, and the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. Other publications include chapters in the books, “Environmental Expressive Therapies: Nature-Assisted Theory and Practice,” and in “Play-based Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders.”
Dr. Courtney believes in the power of nature, therapeutic storytelling, and nurturing touch interactions to support healthy growth and development. She offers two separate FirstPlay® Certification courses including “FirstPlay Developmental Infant Play Therapy” where parents are facilitated to provide attuned and respectful touch to their infants through facilitated storytelling. The other is for, “FirstPlay Kinesthetic Storytelling®” which is an attachment-based storytelling model that merges skills of mindfulness with joyful first-play interactive parent-child interventions. Her children’s book, “The Magic Rainbow Hug©,” makes this model directly accessible to professionals, parents, and the children who can most benefit from its use.
She is an internationally recognized play therapist and has been invited to speak on the topics of infant and childhood play therapy across the U.S. and in Bali, Indonesian, England, Ireland, Morocco, Russia, Ukraine, the Cayman Islands, and most recently to China.
Rosalind Heiko, PhD, RPT-S, ISST
Dr. Roz Heiko, PhD, RPT-S, ISST is a certified Sandplay teacher with ISST who trains therapists internationally and nationally. Her book, A Therapist’s Guide to Mapping the Girl Heroine’s Journey in Sandplay, was published with Rowman & Littlefield in July 2018. Her chapter “Tempered in the fire: Self-care & mindfulness in preventing clinical burn-out” is published in Integrative family play therapy: A new paradigm by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers (2015). She has also authored a number of articles for the Journal of Sandplay Therapy.
Dr. Heiko is founder of NC Play Therapy & Sandplay Training and a past Board of Trustees Member of the Sandplay Therapists of America. She is the Director of Pediatric & Family Psychology, P.A., in Cary, NC, specializing in working with trauma with children, adolescents and families professionally since 1983. Dr. Roz is an Approved Teaching Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) and is Level II certified in EMDR. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of laughter and the delight that play therapy brings to her clients and trainees. You can reach her through her website: www.drheiko.com.
Jamie Lynn Langley, LCSW, RPT-S
Ms. Jamie Lynn Langley, LCSW, RPT-S is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor. Jamie has a private practice in Smyrna, TN, outside of Nashville, where she sees children and adolescents from the ages of 3 – 19 and their families. Ms. Langley teaches adjunct for Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and Lipscomb University. Prior to private practice she worked with a community mental health center for over 27 years, primarily providing play therapy with traumatized, abused and abandoned children. As one of the original co-founders of the Tennessee Association for Play Therapy (TNAPT) and president since its founding, she has been dedicated to making play therapy training more available in local areas.
She provides foundational play therapy and sand tray training both from her office and on the road as requested. Ms. Langley has also presented on play therapy regionally and nationally and was most recently invited to present to the Wroxton International Play Therapy Study Group in Oxfordshire, England in June. In addition to play therapy, she has also been an advocate for combining childhood and nature experiences for children and their families. As a former Cub Scout leader for 15 years, and with both sons as Eagle Scouts, they have together found that some of their most cherished family time was that spent in the outdoors with camping and hiking experiences. They increasingly refer to times needed for the “Nature Fix” to both lower stress and improve connections. Becoming concerned over the growing lack of nature experiences for children, Ms. Langley has been incorporating nature in her play therapy over the past several years, calling it “NaturePlay Therapy.” She is also involved with the Children and Nature Network which was started by Richard Louv in 2006. She serves on the Advisory Board representing children and mental health for the Healthy Parks Healthy Person program through the Tennessee State Parks. Learn more at www.JamieLynnLangley.com
Rose LaPiere, LPC, RPT-S, ACS
Ms. Rose LaPiere, LPC, RPT-S, ACS has been in private practice in Sea Girt, NJ for 14 years working with children, adolescents and families. She is a certified School Psychologist and worked as a school psychologist on the child study teams as well as a school counselor for 7 years. Ms. LaPiere is a foundational Theraplay practitioner. She has obtained many years of training in SandTray and SandPlay therapies and is currently working toward certification in EMDR and toward certification as a Synergetic Play Therapist. In private practice she works with children beginning ages 3 to 18 and also works with adults.
Ms. LaPiere provides supervision for therapists, consultation with schools and she provides training workshops for parents, teachers, and school counselors most often related to anxiety, and ADHD. In her school career as school psychologist she worked in variety of settings including preschool, elementary, middle school and high school in small to large school districts. Ms. LaPiere has worked in private schools, community mental health agency, and intensive out-patient program. She is currently the president-elect for the NJ Association of Creative Counselors which is a branch of the NJ Counseling Association. Learn more about her work at www.RoseLaPiere.com
Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, CPCS
Ms. Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S, CPCS is a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, licensed and certified in the state of Georgia to provide professional counseling and supervision services. She is the Director of Wonders Counseling Services, LLC based in metro Atlanta, Georgia, providing consultation and mentoring services for therapists throughout the United States, in Israel, Ireland, South Korea and Australia. Ms. Wonders is the founder of the Preschool Emotion Education Program (PEEP) implemented in preschool settings since 2003 to provide young children, teachers and parents with experiential education and support to facilitate mindfulness and emotional intelligence. She is the founder of Parenting with Purpose and Vision Seminar Series, and a trained facilitator of Dr. John Gottman’s parenting program Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.
Ms. Wonders is an Association for Play Therapy Approved Provider and has been providing play therapy training and continuing education for therapists in person and online since 2011. She is the Early Childhood Specialist and National Spokesperson for Primrose Schools having authored hundreds of articles on early childhood development and parenting. She he has been a guest instructor for the psychology department at Berry College in Rome, Georgia and for the mental health departments at Grady Hospital, Peachford Hospital and Mercy Care in Atlanta. Ms. Wonders is also the Director of Wonders Wellness Institute for Women where she offers self-care retreats and provides consultation and education for women on the subject of sustaining a healthy holistic lifestyle with over 20 years of experience teaching meditation, mindfulness and gentle forms of yoga and Tai Chi & Chi Kung. Ms. Wonders has led self-care retreats for women in the North Georgia mountains since 2011. You can learn more about her services at www.WondersCounseling.com
Thursday November 19
3:00 – 5:00 Arrive and Get Settled In!
5:00 – 6:00 Getting to Know Your Cabin Mates Game
6:00 – 6:45 Dinner & Large Group Orientation
7:00 – 9:00 Mindful Connecting & Joining in Play Therapy
9:00 Retire to Cabins and Get Some Rest!
Friday November 20
7:00 – 8:00 Ethics of Self Care for the Therapist When Providing Play Therapy Services
8:15 – 8:45 Breakfast
9:00 – 12:00 NaturePlay: The Dynamic Duo of Nature and Play Therapy
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 3:30 Utilizing the Metaphorical Healing Elements of Mother Earth in Play Therapy
3:30 – 6:00 Free time
6:00 – 6:30 Dinner
6:30 – 8:30 Incorporating Nature Sounds in Play Therapy
8:30 – 9:30 Fireside Gathering (optional)
Saturday November 21
7:00 – 8:00 Discovering Nature’s Sensory Gifts in Play Therapy
8:15 – 8:45 Breakfast
9:00 – 12:00 Play Therapy with Sandtray & Storytelling
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 3:30 Touching Clay A Gestalt Play Therapy Encounter and Nature & Mindfulness Mandalas
3:30 – 5:00 Free time
5:00 – 6:00 Bringing Mindfulness Practice and Nature Connections into the Play Room
6:00 – 7:00 Dinner
7:00 – 9:00 Integrating Somatic and Sensory Techniques in Play therapy
9:00 – 10:00 Fireside Gathering (optional)
Sunday November 22
7:00 – 8:00 Gathering for Group Walk in Nature (optional)
8:15 – 8:45 Breakfast
9:00 – 11:00 Closure & Termination Techniques for Group & Family Play Therapy
22 TOTAL CONTACT Play Therapy TRAINING HOURS
(APT Approved Provider 12-321)
All plans include:
- 3 Night Stay in the Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at Elohee Retreat Center
- 12 Delicious, Healthy Meals with personalized Dietary Needs Met
- 24 Hour Hot Tea Service
- 3 Nights Luxury Lodging
- Evening Outdoor Fire Gathering (weather permitting)
- Morning Outdoor Excursions (indoor gentle movement if inclement weather)
- Use of Entire Mountain Top Resort Facilities
- 11 Information-packed Sessions: 22 hours of Play Therapy Training ($500)
- Supplemental Materials ($50)
We have three room arrangements to suit your budget and comfort level!
4 Month Payment Plan Installments are available.
Space is limited, so register today!
*Cancellation Policy: Registration made before August 1, 2020 may be cancelled prior to August 1, 2020 and reimbursed minus a $175 administrative fee. All balances must be paid in full by or before August 1, 2020 and after August 1, 2020 no fees paid will be refunded due to the financial obligation we have to the retreat center.
Double Lodging Occupancy, Shared Bath with Roommate, Meals, Tuition & Fees
Private Single Room with Twin, Shared Bath with 1 Hall Mate, Meals, Tuition & Fees
Private Single Room with King Bed and Private Bath, Meals, Tuition & Fees