Northwest Center for Play Therapy Studies

Annual Fall Play Therapy Conference

November 2, 2018

Registration Link Below

Friday, November 2, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC

The Power of Play … and Animals: Professional Applications of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™

We know the power of play and play therapy in helping children and families overcome a wide range of problems and enjoy satisfying lives. We also know that animals hold great interest for most children and many adults, and that Animal Assisted Therapy is gaining in popularity and use. What if we put the two together? It is far more complicated than many people realize. To be ethical in practice and to maximize effectiveness, play therapists must develop competencies in several fields and acquire hands-on experience with the animals with whom they wish to work.

            The competencies required and the types of training needed for therapists are included along with resources for those wishing to practice Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ (AAPT). Videos will illustrate AAPT in action, and case studies will bring it to life. Demonstrations with dogs will provide an opportunity for play therapists to learn about relationship-building, socialization, training and other preparation with their animals as they consider adding AAPT to their repertoires.

            Strong emphasis will be placed on the role and importance of relationships in AAPT: the play therapist-animal relationship, the play therapist-client relationship, and the client-animal relationship, and how they all impact the therapeutic process.

Learning Objectives

After the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify at least 6 competencies that professionals develop to conduct Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ well.
  2. Explain at least 3 key factors in preparing an animal for Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ work.
  3. Describe at least 2 reasons why therapists must learn animal body language fluently to ensure appropriate practice and risk management when conducting Animal Assisted Play Therapy™.
  4. Identify at least 3 ways to develop, and help clients develop, mutually respectful, reciprocal relationships with therapy animals that relate to human relationships as well.
  5. Explain what an AAPT therapist does when a child client becomes upset if the animal does not do what the client wants.
  6. Describe 2 therapeutic advantages to working with therapy animals off-lead and in a natural environment during Animal Assisted Play Therapy™.


Garry Landreth

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC is a licensed psychologist, registered play therapist-supervisor, and certified dog behavior consultant. Well-known for her 45 years of clinical and training work and dozens of books, chapters, and articles on play therapy and Filial Therapy, she conducted her first AAPT intervention 37 years ago with fish! During the past 17 years, she has been developing the field of AAPT as a systematic model of intervention. She is a cofounder of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy® (IIAAPT), and coauthor of the internationally acclaimed book, Animal Assisted Play Therapy (which expands greatly on her 2008 award-winning book, Play Therapy with Kids & Canines). She runs the Playful Pooch Program as part of her practice, and oversees the training, supervision, and certification programs relating to AAPT throughout the world.

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 10/19/18 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 10/19/18. 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