Advancing the Therapeutic Powers of Play

REGISTER NOW for Our 2020 Annual Conference! 

May 1-2, 2020 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT

Set on the pristine shores of a 600-acre lake, surrounded by the green hills of Vermont, the Lake Morey Resort provides a beautiful natural setting that is fun and welcoming to people of all ages, all year round. Check it out! Located just off I-91, exit 15, on the Vermont/New Hampshire border.


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Friday, May 1st - Choose One Session

Session 1: Circles and Sticks: Foundational Basics of Play Therapy - Mary Anne Peabody, Ed.D., LCSW, RPT-S

Join us as we examine foundational concepts in the field of play therapy geared for beginning play therapists or for clinicians who have discovered gaps in their initial training repertoire. Developing as a play therapist should involve a sequential, temporal, and clinically supportive pathway which should be understood and clear from the beginning. Facilitated by a seasoned play therapist supervisor, this workshop will explore basic conceptual, informational, and relational knowledge. Topics will include: how therapeutic play drives desired change, basic play therapy definitions and prominent theories, key competencies of effective play therapists, lessons to guide you and mistakes to avoid. There will be time for group sharing, questions, and answers. Come ready to play with circles, sticks, ideas, and your passion!

Participants will be able to…

  1. Name at least three historically significant or seminal play therapy theories.
  2. Name at least three areas of knowledge acquisition needed as you work towards becoming a play therapist.
  3. Identify two mistakes to avoid in the early stages of your learning journey.

Session 2: Playful Supervision Skills for All Levels…Basics and Beyond! Jenn Lefebre, PsyD, RPT-S

The role of the play therapy supervisor changes when supervising therapists at different developmental levels, from interns or new therapists through those who have had extensive training and experience in play therapy. This 3-hour workshop provides training in understanding the developmental process of the play therapist and an overview of various supervisory models. We will review the broader nuances of the supervisory relationship including the work, process and ethical responsibilities for supervising those providing play therapy services. We will examine the supervisor’s role in assisting play therapists in developing insight into counter-transference, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue, as well as an understanding of the energy required to provide high quality play therapy services. Through this training, participants will learn practical strategies to be prepared to supervise a variety of circumstances that may emerge from the work required of professionals who offer play therapy on a regular basis.

Participants will be able to…

  1. Identify 2 developmental supervision models and how they apply to various levels of play therapists (interns through advanced).
  2. Explain the importance of the supervisory relationship with therapists providing play therapy services including appropriate boundaries, structure and regularity of supervision interaction.
  3. Enumerate the varying roles of supervisor including didactic and evaluative responsibilities in overseeing the therapists work with child clients and parents.
  4. Define vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue in order to differentiate among the ways these are exhibited in play therapy clinicians.
  5. Demonstrate at least 3 ways to address countertransference and burnout within your supervisees.

Session 3. Core Attachment Therapy©: Secure Attachment for the Adopted Child – A Prescriptive Play Therapy Process Dorothy Derapelian, M.Ed., LCMHC

Core Attachment Therapy© is a therapeutic play based process used in play therapy to secure the attachment of the adopted child or any child who has had disruption in attachment development. Not knowing what do to with healthy relationships, children with attachment disruption bring chaos into their homes. Core Attachment Therapy© shows children how to utilize the love of their new parents through therapeutic games while highlighting the attachment power of play.

Core Attachment Therapy© is a two component process. Component 1 is The Nurtured Heart Approach®. It is a best practice approach for children with intense behaviors. It takes the intensity and channels it to achieve their potential. This shift in intensity is needed to start the seeds of attachment through play therapy. Component 2 is the attachment games. It is a series of progressive play-based games which replicate the three phases of attachment development. It allows the new parent/child dyad to form their loving bond at the core level. The modality is play therapy based as it is children's natural language and the therapeutic power of attachment is central to change. The play therapy modality also promotes enjoyment of the new relationship which is key in secure attachment. The directive games are followed with non-direct play therapy to help the children process any traumatic memories which may have arisen. The parent is in the play room while the therapist assists the parents on how to respond in a loving, nurturing and comforting way. This workshop will allow the play therapist to recognize and utilize neurobiological development patterns to improve attachment relationships through this play therapy approach.

Participants will be able to…

1. Identify the stages and neurobiology of attachment development to utilize the therapeutic power of attachment in play therapy.

2. Predict the behaviors of attachment disruption and the use of The Nurtured Heart Approach® in play therapy.

3. Connect the developmental task of each phase of attachment development through play and assess how the attachment games address these needs in play therapy.

Saturday, May 2nd Morning Session 4

Identifying and Utilizing the Therapeutic Powers of Play in Play Therapy Julie Nash, Ph.D., RPT-S

How does play therapy actually promote change while improving mental health and overall functioning? While the therapeutic relationship and other qualities of therapy are necessary, this workshop will teach what it is about play specifically that leads to change. The relationship between individual therapeutic powers of play and the primary traits of play will be explored, while relating to the basic tenets of major theories of play therapy. Understanding these relationships and how to implement them allows for effectively choosing techniques or interventions to give the desired observable outcomes. This process will be described and practiced using didactic and experiential exercises, helping participants to solidify their frameworks and understanding of play therapy theory and practice. Participants will be better equipped to answer the question “So you just…play?” when speaking with parents, referral sources, and other professionals, as well as when writing treatment plans. Participants will be introduced to and practice a model for connecting presenting issues with three major components of play therapy (theory, therapeutic powers, and traits of play) to achieve a desired outcome, which allows for effective and efficient intervention selections.

This workshop will be presented from a prescriptive orientation, encouraging prescriptive matching of presenting problem, theory, therapeutic power of play, and techniques in the style of “Given this presenting problem and client, which therapeutic power of play and trait of play would lead to the necessary desired outcome?” 

Participants will be able to…

  1. Identify the 20 therapeutic powers of play seen through play therapy.
  2. Describe how specific use of the therapeutic powers of play is necessary to achieve desired outcomes in play therapy.
  3. Demonstrate how to choose an intervention to promote a desired observable outcome with play therapy, given a specified therapeutic power of play and trait of play.

Saturday, May 2nd Afternoon Session 5

Let’s Play (Therapy) Outside! - Susanne Carroll Duffy, Psy.D. , RPT-S

There is a lot of thought about what constitutes a playroom in play therapy.  We look dreamily at Pinterest play spaces and imagine the toys we wish for our child clients. If you are a sandtray therapist, every object becomes a play possibility. That’s because play therapists understand that for children, the toys become their words. So, can play therapy happen outside of the four walls of a playroom or without the language of toys? 

This workshop explores the benefits of doing just that…in the outdoors. The outdoors provides the bottom-up sensory-motor regulation opportunity that makes way for symbolic and verbal processing. Additionally, in nature-based play therapy, the child not only develops a relationship to the therapist, but to nature, and that is a resource that they will always have with them.

This workshop will approach the use of nature from within a cognitive behavioral play therapy perspective integrated with expressive therapies. The story Finding Diamonds will illustrate the benefits of a relationship to nature for children and demonstrate ways to use the story to encourage a relationship to nature. The workshop will also explore practical ways that time outdoors encourages sensory-motor regulation, and how to measure progress across sessions.

Participants will be able to…

  1. Describe 8 ways that nature-based play therapy benefits child clients.
  2. Use the story Finding Diamonds in play therapy sessions, to encourage a child-nature relationship inside and outside of sessions.
  3. Measure progress in nature-based play therapy using the metaphor of a walking stick.


Friday, May 1, 2020

5:00 p.m. Registration

5:30 p.m. Dinner 

6:00 p.m. Sessions Begin (Choice of #1, #2, or #3)

9:00 p.m. Reception with Exhibitors 

10:00 p.m. Reception Concludes 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee

8:30 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:45 a.m. Session #4 Begins

10:00 a.m. Break with Exhibitors

10:15 a.m. Session #4 Continues 

12:00 p.m. Lunch & Annual Meeting

1:00 p.m. Session #5 Begins

2:30 p.m. Break with Exhibitors

2:45 p.m. Session #5 Continues

4:30 p.m. Conference Concludes

HANDOUTS: In an effort to reduce paper waste and be more “green,” our policy is to email all handouts. Please include a valid email address with your registration to receive the handouts.

PHOTO RELEASE: By registering for this conference, you are giving permission for NEAPT to use any photographs that are taken at the event containing your likeness for as long as NEAPT deems appropriate and desirable. Photographs may be used on the NEAPT website, social media pages, and/or newsletter for any purpose. By completing the registration, you are also consenting to waive any rights to the photographs indefinitely. If you do not wish to have your photo used, it is your responsibility to notify Angelita Valdez at registration of your request to be omitted.

CANCELLATION POLICY: All cancellations must be requested in writing and received no later than April 3, 2020. Cancellations are subject to $35 processing fee. No refunds after April 4, 2020. Substitutions (allowing another person to attend in your place) may be made in writing for no additional cost. No refunds are given due to inclement weather.  

HOTEL INFORMATION: Lake Morey Resort, 82 Clubhouse Road, Fairlee, VT 05045. Attendees are responsible to make hotel reservations. The hotel number is 802-333-4311. Website:

New England Association for Play Therapy: NEAPT is a professional organization striving to advance the theory and practice of play therapy through activities such as conferences, seminars, and networking in order to serve the mental health needs of Michigan children, families, schools and communities. For more information on the Conference visit our website at

EXHIBITS: Books and therapeutic materials will be on display and available for sale Friday & Saturday. 

CONTINUING EDUCATION: This program is co-sponsored, by the New England Association for Play Therapy and The Institute for Continuing Education. The Conference offers a total of 9.00 contact hours (3.00 hrs. for May 1, 2020 / 6.00 hrs. for May 2, 2020).  

Continuing education credit is awarded on a daily basis, with full attendance required for the days attended. The CE processing fee is $ 25.00, to be paid by participants who wish to make application for CE credit for their participation in the program. Application forms and other required CE materials will be available on site for submission to The Institute for Continuing Education. If you have questions regarding the program, continuing education learning objectives, faculty, contact  The Institute at: 800-557-1950 / email:

NOTE: To receive continuing education credit, applicants must complete all CE materials, sign in/out at designated locations, and submit an evaluation form for the sessions attended. 

NOTE: It is the responsibility of the attendee to determine if CE credit offered by The Institute for Continuing Education meets the regulations of their state licensing/certification board.

NOTE: The program workshops do not offer “ethics” hours.  CE credit is not academic and may not be used toward fulfillment of a degree.

Psychology: The Institute for Continuing Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for this program and its content.   

Counseling: For counselors seeking CE credit, The Institute for Continuing Education will submit a co-sponsorship application to NBCC for this program. New York: The Institute for Continuing Education is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors.  Provider MHC-0016.

Social Work: Application for social work continuing education credit has been submitted. This website will be updated regarding approval. New York: The Institute for Continuing Education 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, Provider SW-0025. New Jersey: This program will NOT be submitted for pre-approval for New Jersey social workers.

Marriage/Family Therapy: The Institute for Continuing Education is a recognized provider of continuing education by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for MFT, Provider MFT-0012. Massachusetts: This program has not been pre-approved for MA MFTs. 

Play Therapy: The Institute for Continuing Education is approved by The Association for Play Therapy to sponsor continuing education specific to play therapy. The Institute maintains responsibility for the program. APT Approved Provider 98-040. New England Association for Play Therapy APT Approved Provider 02-123.

Non-Credit Events: Breakfast, lunch, reception events, committee/business meetings, networking sessions

Skills Level: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced.  Attendees are urged to review the session descriptions to determine appropriateness for professional and personal needs.

Instructional Methodology:  May include lecture, demonstration, audio/visual, experiential practice of techniques, case examples, large and small group discussion.

ADA/Section 504: If you have special needs, please contact Woody Belt at

Highlights from our 2019 Annual Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire on May 3-4, 2019.


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New England Association for Play Therapy is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization. 

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