Northwest Center for Play Therapy Studies

Annual Summer Play Therapy Institute Workshops

June 4-8, 2018

Registration Link Below

Monday, June 4, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Garry Landreth, EdD, LPC-S, RPT-S & Daniel Sweeney, PhD, LMFT, LPC, RPT-S

Difficult Cases in Play Therapy: Not Knowing What You’d Like to Know

This workshop focuses on difficult play therapy cases, and the play “messages” that indicate children’s process. Play therapy video excerpts highlight a terminally ill child copying with dying, an aggressive child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, and others. These case descriptions of our play therapy clients will provide a foundation for sharing insights, struggles, and issues we have experienced – leading to discussion of workshop participant reactions and personal experiences. Additionally, we will focus on the importance (and possible biases) of historical information for play therapy clients, and the play therapist’s need to know what information is needed in order to plan treatment and focus on child issues and welfare. Participant discussion is key to this workshop!

Learning Objectives

After the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe two new insights into themselves related to their difficult cases.
  2. Articulate two new insights about one of their difficult clinical cases in play therapy.
  3. Describe two positive facilitative ways to respond to children who experience emotional blocks by becoming silent and inactive.
  4. Identify the three steps in the ACT therapeutic limit setting process.
  5. Identify potential limitations coming from child historical information that may be limiting to the play therapy process.
  6. Describe child-focused play therapy principles that promote freedom in the therapeutic process – both for client and therapist.


Garry Landreth

Garry Landreth, Ed.D., LPC, RPT-S is internationally recognized for his writings and work in promoting the development of child-centered play therapy, is a Regents Professor Emeritus and founder of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas. Dr. Landreth is a frequent speaker at play therapy conferences around the world. His more than 150 journal articles, books and videos include the 2014 DVD CPRT in Action: Four Couples in a CPRT Group and the 3rd edition of his award-winning book Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship. Dr. Landreth’s other recent books are Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT): A 10-Session Filial Therapy Model and an accompanying Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Treatment Manual. His CPRT Model received the Best Practices in Parent/Family Education Award. Dr. Landreth is Director Emeritus of the Association for Play Therapy (APT). He received the APT Lifetime Achievement Award, the APT Research Award, and the Virginia Axline Distinguished Professional Award for his work in conceptualizing and advancing the child-centered approach to play therapy. Dr. Landreth is an Honorary Visiting Research Professor at the University of Roehampton in England.

Daniel Sweeney

Daniel Sweeney, Ph.D., LMFT, LPC, RPT-S is a Professor of Counseling, Director of the Clinical Mental HealthCounseling program, and Director of the NW Center for Play Therapy Studies at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon. He is a past board member and president of the Association for Play Therapy. Dr. Sweeney maintains a small private practice and is an international presenter. He is author or co-author of several books, including Play Therapy Interventions with Children's Problems, Counseling Children Through the World of Play, Sandtray Therapy: A Practical Manual, The Handbook of Group Play Therapy, and Group Play Therapy: A Dynamic Approach. His books have been translated into Chinese, Korean, and Russian. Dr. Sweeney and his wife live in Portland, Oregon near their four adult children and grandchildren.

Tuesday, June 5, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Mary Morrison Bennett, PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S

They Are So Young: Play Therapy with Very Young Children in Crisis

Child Centered Play Therapy is a developmentally appropriate approach for working with toddlers and preschoolers in need of play therapy. We often think play therapy is only for children over three years of age. In this presentation, we will discuss the benefits of using Child Centered Play Therapy and Child Parent Relationship Therapy- Toddler Model in working with our youngest clients. Often children this young needing play therapy have experienced trauma, we will explore the different effects trauma has on their development and how to address those in treatment. This population is often forgotten in that many professionals believe they are too young to be impacted by trauma. As play therapists we know this is not the case, come learn how we can help the littlest ones.

Learning Objectives

After the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. State Roger’s six (6) core conditions in play therapy.
  2. Articulate why Child Centered Play Therapy is developmentally appropriate for young children.
  3. Describe play therapy techniques in working with parents of young children.
  4. Identify the neurobiological impacts of early childhood trauma for children in play therapy.
  5. Describe the Child Parent Relationship Therapy – Toddler Model.
  6. Identify characteristics of traumatized play in young children who are in play therapy.


Mary Morrison Bennett, Ph.D., LPC-S, RPT-S, CCPT-S, CPRT-S is a Fellow at the Institute for Play Therapy Mary Morrison Bennettat Texas State University and former Associate Professor of Professional Counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, Certified Child Centered Play Therapy Supervisor and Child Parent Relationship Therapist Supervisor. Dr. Bennett co-founded the Institute for Play Therapy at Texas State University. She is a Past President of the Texas Association for Play Therapy. Dr. Bennett has presented internationally and has published on the play therapy process, trauma, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, Child Teacher Relationship Training and play therapy supervision in professional journals and books. Her research interests include childhood trauma, toddlers and preschoolers, Child Parent Relationship Therapy and Child Teacher Relationship Training.

Wednesday, June 6, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Claudio Mochi, LP, RPT-S & Isabella Cassina, MA

Play Therapy Around the Globe: International Crisis Work with Children

Play is not only a powerful tool to prevent and overcome psychological problems but also to foster, especially in children, the development of a variety of skills including the ability to cope with very difficult circumstances. This presentation, given by experienced international crisis mental health therapists, will focus on the application of the therapeutic powers of play to promote children's wellbeing and trauma recovery in everyday highly distressing contexts and/or post disaster scenario. An introduction to different crisis situations will be given emphasizing in particular the role that play therapists might employ in such circumstances. The presenters, who have provided play therapy services and training in international setting, will focus on the critical factors of play, safety and relationship in different phases of intervention. With specific regard to play therapy, the use of different approaches and techniques will be discussed. There will be opportunity for questions, comments and experiential activities.

Learning Objectives

After the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss play as an international language and play therapy as a cross-cultural mental health intervention.
  2. Describe the therapeutic powers of play in an international context.
  3. Describe play therapy techniques used in international crisis mental health work.
  4. Identify unique stressors experienced by children in other countries and cultures, and the use of play therapy as the appropriate intervention.
  5. Discuss the need for play, safety, and relationship is crucial factors to consider in international settings.
  6. Identify specific play therapy interventions for use with children and families experiencing crisis in international settings.


Claudio Mochi

Claudio Mochi, LP, RPT-S is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Rome, Italy – and an expert in emergency and disaster mental health, including the use of clinical/community psychology and Play Therapy in post-disaster situations. Since 2001, he has participated to crisis interventions, created and developed psychosocial programs addressing the needs of disaster survivors and trained local professionals in several countries such as Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Haiti. Mochi is Founder and President of the “Associazione per la Play Therapy Italia” (APTI) and he is currently developing Play Therapy training in Europe and projects based on Play Therapy in several countries including Switzerland, Nigeria and Venezuela. Claudio has presented at numerous conferences, including the APT conference in 2012 and as the Keynote speaker at the Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association conference in 2017.

Isabella Cassina

Isabella Cassina, MA is a Social Worker specialized in Therapeutic Play (APTI) and International Cooperation from The Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies IHEID in Geneva, Switzerland. She is an Italian native speaker, and skilled in French, English, Croatian, Serbian, Spanish and German. Currently, Isabella is Project Manager and Trainer for INA - International Academy for Play Therapy studies and PsychoSocial Projects based in Switzerland, and has worked in several European countries, Nigeria and Venezuela, and Consultant for APTI. Since 2006 she has provided training and therapy services in Colombia, Serbia, Haiti, India, Nigeria, & Venezuela. Isabella also worked for the Swiss Red Cross as Head of the Social Service in temporary reception centers for asylum seekers and refugees and Manager of the Project “Migrant Children and Therapeutic Play”. She is author of the psychoeducational book for children The Magic Home.

Thursday, June 7, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Linda Homeyer, PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S

Trauma-Informed Sandtray Therapy for the Play Therapist

This workshop will provide play and sandtray therapists an exploration of trauma-informed dynamics to ones’ ongoing clinical work, counseling/personality theory, and client conceptualization. The focus will be integrating and conceptualizing the three stages of trauma-informed therapy work with sand tray and play therapy. This includes use and importance of the “trauma narrative,” “life narrative,” and “family narrative” in successful treatment. The value of the family narrative and family script regarding the traumatic event will be discussed. We will also explore the inclusion of spirituality/religion as a possible resource for trauma victims and their families. Case studies and examples will be given. Participants: Please bring 15-20 miniature figures with you. We will experience and play, too!

After the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify how using sand, sand tray, and miniature figures can assist client’s ability to co-regulate in sandtray and play therapy.
  2. List trauma-related miniature figures, both symbols of fear and symbols of safety.
  3. Assess and use spiritual/religious issues as a resiliency factor in play and sandtray therapy trauma treatment.
  4. Discuss trauma, impact of ACE studies, and trauma-informed practice in sandtray and play therapy.
  5. List the three steps of trauma work and application to sandtray and play therapy.
  6. Identify how to use a trauma narrative and life narrative.


Linda Homeyer, Ph.D., LPC-S, RPT-S is Professor of Professional Counseling at Texas State University, where Linda Homeyershe developed their play therapy and sandtray therapy programs. Dr. Homeyer is the recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Lifetime Achievement Award and designated as a Director Emerita. She presents locally to internationally on play therapy and sandtray therapy, has numerous publications, including: Sandtray Therapy: A Practical Manual (3rd Ed.), and The Handbook of Group Play Therapy, co-authored and co-edited with Daniel Sweeney, respectively. Her publications have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Spanish. Dr. Homeyer also directs the Door of Hope Counseling Center in New Braunfels.

Friday, June 8, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S

Healing Wounded Hearts: Attachment Centered Play Therapy

Through the lens of attachment theory, participants will gain a new understanding of how children and families interact and bond to one another in healthy vs maladaptive ways. We will be exploring how trauma, abuse, and neglect impact the bonds of attachment within the family system and how the power of Attachment Centered Play Therapy can help to heal these wounds. Participants will spend the day learning new and innovative play therapy techniques including hands on experiential activities, sand tray interventions, and expressive arts. You will leave with a creative toolbox of tips, techniques, and a clear understanding of how attachment styles impact relationships.

Learning Objectives

After the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe how attachment theory applies to play therapy and to view family systems through the lens of attachment.
  2. Conceptualize attachment patterns that impact modern parent-child relationships.
  3. Acquire skills in becoming more competent and confident in engaging parents in family play therapy.
  4. Describe effective evidence-based play therapy techniques that can be used immediately with their client populations.

Clair MellenthinPresenter

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Throughout her career, she has focused on providing play therapy to children, teens, and their families. She is currently the Director of Child & Adolescents at Wasatch Family Therapy. Ms. Mellenthin is a sought after supervisor, training graduate students and interns in play therapy, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California MSW program. She is the Past-President of the Utah Association For Play Therapy and remains an active member on the Board of Directors. She is the author of My Many Colors of Me Workbook. In addition to being an experienced play therapist and professor, Ms. Mellenthin frequently presents professional play therapy and family therapy trainings and appears on local and national TV and radio as an expert on children and family issues.



Continuing Education

George Fox University's NW Center for Play Therapy Studies will offer 6.0 contact hours of Continuing Education (CE) for each workshop day. The following approvals are available:

  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • Association for Play Therapy (APT Approved Provider 03-124)
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

George Fox University/NW Center for Play Therapy Studies has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4447. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. George Fox University/NW Center for Play Therapy Studies is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. George Fox University/NW Center for Play Therapy Studies provides CE through the Association for Play Therapy [APT Approved Provider 03-134] and retains sole and ultimate responsibility for the quality, conduct of, and record-keeping for such programs.This program is pending approval from NASW [Approval # 88-6411347] for six (6) continuing education contact hours.


The Graduate Department of Counseling at George Fox University is pleased to be the home of the Northwest Center for Play Therapy Studies (NWCPTS). Under the direction of Dr. Daniel Sweeney, the NWCPTS is the largest university-based center focused on the study and promotion of play therapy in the northwest United States.

The mission of the Northwest Center for Play Therapy Studies is to promote the healthy development and welfare of children and families through the process of play and filial therapy. In support of the relational, psychological and spiritual wholeness of children and families, the center seeks to fulfill this objective through the provision of play therapy, training, supervision, and learning resources for students and mental health professionals in the community.


The fee is $139 per day for each workshop, with a student discount rate of $99 per day. Attendance is limited, so early registration is recommended.

Registration after 5/21/18 is $155.00 each day. Cancellations must be received in writing 7 days prior to the conference to receive a refund, and are subject to a $25.00 processing fee. No refunds will be made after 5/28/18. In the unlikely event of a workshop cancellation, the NWCPTS is only responsible for a refund of the workshop fee.

Register Online

Conference accommodation information will be sent with registration confirmation.

For further information, contact us at 503-554-6104 or email