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Play Therapy Basics & Beyond
World of Divorce


Play Therapy in Translation: Engaging Parents in the Play Therapy Process (September 2011)

Wendy Miller, Psy.D.
Portland, Oregon

Workshop Description
One of the most difficult facets of working with children in play therapy is how to best involve parents in the play therapy process. As a child therapist, a primary goal is to join in the child’s current emotional world. The question presents itself, is it possible to help parents be aware of that emotional world? What can the play therapist do to facilitate the parent’s ability to see their actual child, rather than their hopes, fears, and wishes for their child? From family play therapy, to dyadic work, to parent coaching and education, successful engagement of parents requires a translation of the play therapy process into an understandable and workable construct. This workshop will explore the many paths to parent involvement in the play therapy process and the emotional health of their child and family.
6 CEU hours


Learning Objectives

1. Enhance the intake process, handouts, homework and educational materials to increase parent rapport, trust and partnership with the play therapy process.
2. Develop a means of categorizing types of parent behaviors and their emotional causes which lead to difficulties in the parent child dance.
3. Learn about and observe several models of parent involvement, including post-session reporting, parent-child dyad in session, family play therapy, and parent coaching. The role of couple’s therapy will also be considered.
4. Develop a model to teach parents how to respond to their child’s emotional state, while maintaining their role as parent, and promoting the healthy structure of the family system.
5. Experience opportunities to observe and engage in role plays demonstrating the parent–therapist interaction, allowing for a more in-depth understanding of how to utilize parent strength and attachment to enhance the play therapy process.

morning agenda

  • Introductions, philosophy of therapy, and interests of the participants
  • Engaging the Parent from the Intake and Beyond!
  • Understanding Parent Behaviors and their Emotional Antecedents
  • Models of Parent Involvement
afternoon agenda
  • Parents are not therapists, how to help them attend to and see their child
  • Experiential demonstrations, as suggested by both presenter and participants.


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