Monday, June 18, 2018 (9:00am-4:30pm)

Animal-Assisted Play Therapy™ 

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC

This presentation introduces therapists to the involvement of nonhuman animals, such as dogs and horses, to the practice of play therapy, or to psychotherapy in general. It highlights how to get started, and the numerous and complex skills needed to conduct AAPT ethically and effectively. It includes case studies and videos illustrating the application of AAPT to a wide range of problems with individual children, groups, and families. AAPT is designed to create a playful atmosphere that assures the emotional safety of clients, while incorporating animals in a humane way to build rapport and to facilitate and strengthen therapeutic outcomes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 (9:00am-4:30pm)

Group Play Therapy

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC

This workshop focuses on the use of playful group activities and therapeutic interventions that are applicable to clients aged 7 through adult. The workshop will be largely experiential in nature. Participants leave with new ideas as well as skills for running groups and processing the interventions for therapeutic benefit. 



Risë VanFleet, Ph.D.,RPT-S, CDBC is the President of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, and is a licensed psychologist, registered play therapist-supervisor, and certified dog behavior consultant. She initially learned Filial Therapy from its co-creators, Drs. Bernard and Louise Guerney, and has become well-known for her workshops and writing about Filial Therapy throughout the world. She is a past board president of the Association for Play Therapy. Dr. VanFleet is also the cofounder and president of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy™, which disseminates information and offers certification in Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ (AAPT). 


For 38 years, Dr. VanFleet has taught thousands of professionals throughout the world about play therapy and Filial Therapy, and she brings over 45 years of experience in the mental health and trauma fields to her presentations. She is known for her empowering, dynamic, pragmatic, skills-based approaches to teaching. Her name is synonymous with Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ (AAPT), a multidisciplinary field in which clinicians involve animals in their work with a focus on mutually beneficial human-animal relationships, attention to animal welfare issues, and the power of playfulness in enhancing therapy. Her 2017 book with Tracie Faa-Thompson, Animal Assisted Play Therapy, was released to international acclaim. She is also the author of dozens of other books, chapters, manuals, and articles on play therapy topics, and is featured on several DVDs and online courses. She has received over a dozen national and international awards for her training and writing. There is more information about her work at


Wednesday, June 20, 2018 (9:00am-4:30pm)

Challenges in Child-Centered Play Therapy

Garry L. Landreth, EdD, LPC, RPT-S, CCPT-S, CPRT-S


The person centered philosophy that serves as the basis for child-centered play therapy (CCPT) is marked by trust in the innate tendency present in all individuals for growth-enhancing self-structure, emotions, and behaviors. The child is capable of determining the direction for therapeutic change and the effective CCPT therapist provides self and environment to facilitate the child’s active and innate processes for enhancement. The removal of threats is the basis for the key person-centered concept of non-directivity provided by the therapist to acknowledge the child’s right to autonomy and belief in the child’s constructive nature (Wilkins, 2010).  Non-directivity is not defined as a set of passive behaviors but as an attitude that promotes the child’s self-sufficiency by not guiding the child’s goals or therapeutic content.

When a therapist follows the CCPT approach, situations arise in the playroom that can be challenging. Some examples may include a child who does not play, asks many questions, insists on therapist self-disclosure, wants to play competitive games, persists in wanting therapist to lead, does not seem to be working on presenting issues, acts aggressively, no evidence of progress, and many others. A therapist may find it difficult to respond to these situations in a way that allows the child to lead yet is therapeutically effective. In this workshop, we will address these types of specific situations and how a therapist can respond appropriately, therapeutically, and genuinely. We will engage in meaningful problem-solving for the play therapist who wishes to provide CCPT in the most effective and responsive ways. 


Garry L. Landreth, Ed.D., LPC, RPT-S, is internationally known for his writings and work in promoting the development of child-centered play therapy. Dr. Landreth is a Regents Professor in the Department of Counseling, 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. He has more than 150 journal articles, books, and videos including the recent 3rd edition of his award-winning book Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship, which has been translated into several languages. Dr. Landreth's other recent books are Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT): A 10-Session Filial Therapy Model and the accompanying Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Treatment Manual. His CPRT Model received the Parent Education Best Practices Award. Dr. Landreth is Director Emeritus of the Association for Play Therapy (APT) and received the APT Lifetime Achievement Award and the APT Research Award.



Dee Ray, Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC, RPT-S, Certified CCPT-S, Certified CPRT-S is Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Counseling Program and Director of the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ray has published over 100 articles, chapters, and books in the field of play therapy, specializing in research specifically examining the process and effects of Child Centered Play Therapy.  Dr. Ray is author of A Therapist’s Guide to Development: The Extraordinarily Normal Years, Advanced Play Therapy: Essential Conditions, Knowledge, and Skills for Child Practice, Child Centered Play Therapy Treatment Manual, and co-author of Group Play Therapy and Child Centered Play Therapy Research. She is a founding board member and past president of the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling. She is current editor of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling and recipient of the American Counseling Association Don Dinkmeyer Social Interest Award, Association for Humanistic Counseling Educator Award, Association for Play Therapy Outstanding Research Award, Top 25 Women Professors in Texas Award, and many others. Dr. Ray supervises counseling services to community clients at her university clinic and leads a school outreach program providing play therapy to hundreds of children each year.


Thursday, June 21, 2018 (9:00am-4:30pm)

What is Theraplay?

Gloria Cockerill, LCSW, RPT-S

Theraplay® is a child and family modality of play therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. Rated as “effective” by the SAMHSA National Registry for Evidences – Based Programs and Practices, it is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding. Theraplay helps you create an atmosphere where children are happy to come to therapy and become quickly and fully engaged in the therapeutic process. Theraplay also involves the parents in an immediate and positive way, giving them experiences of success and pride in their children so they can feel motivated to support them. With the child, the parent and you, the therapist, all on the same team, you have a winning combination for positive and lasting change. This program is designed to provide mental health professionals and graduate students an overview of the Theraplay model. 

Program Content: 

• Principles of attachment theory on an intellectual and experiential level 

• The Four Dimensions of Theraplay for child development 

• An overview of the Theraplay protocol

 • An overview of the Marschak Interaction Method (MIM), the assessment tool specific to Theraplay 

• An overview of the role of parents throughout treatment

• An introduction to adapting Theraplay to Groups and different populations 


Learning Objectives: 

• Demonstrate basic knowledge of the Theraplay model, a model of play therapy, and its roots in Attachment Theory 

• Describe how the Theraplay dimensions of Structure, Engagement, Nurture and Challenge are used to meet children’s needs and address behavior problems 

• Demonstrate 2 activities from each of Theraplay’s four dimensions 

• Demonstrate basic knowledge of how the MIM is utilized to assess the parent-child relationship and to plan treatment 

• Demonstrate how Theraplay interactions are conducted with preschool and school age children, children with developmental problems, and groups 

• Describe how parents participate in Theraplay sessions



Gloria M. Cockerill, LCSW, Registered Play Therapist- Supervisor is a Certified Theraplay® Therapist, Trainer and Supervisor.  She is currently the Training Director for the Theraplay Institute. Prior to joining the staff at TTI, Gloria was in private practice in Oak Park, Illinois where she specialized in working with children, adolescents and their families.  Gloria served as a Field Consultant for The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, working with cohorts of first year and second year social work graduate students, facilitating seminars and helping students bridge the connection between their academic and field placement experiences. As adjunct faculty at University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams School of Social Work she taught Practice with Children.   In addition, she has served as a consultant to the St. Vincent DePaul Early Childhood Center’s team of social workers to better support their early childhood classrooms. Gloria has worked clinically with children and families involved in the foster care systems, has supervised an Intact Family Services team of caseworkers, and worked in a community mental health program serving children and adolescents.  As a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor she has completed extensive training in a broad range of play based techniques.  She is a member of The Theraplay Association, and the Association for Play Therapy where she served for three years as the President of the Illinois Branch.  Gloria can be reached at


Friday, June 22, 2018 (9:00am-4:30pm)

Play Therapy with Toddlers and Preschoolers: What to do When They are So Young

Mary Morrison Bennett, PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S, CCPT-S, CPRT-S

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 their trauma. As play therapists we know this is not the case, come learn how we can help the littlest ones. 

Program Content:

• Humanistic/Child Centered approach -Why

• Normal development

• How parents feel

• Trauma

• Neurobiology of Attachment

• Early intervention-importance

• Attachment- importance of- falling in love moment

• Trauma play


Learning Objectives:

• Participants will state Roger’s 6 core conditions in play therapy.

• Participants will state why Child Centered Play Therapy is developmentally appropriate for young children.

• Participants will learn techniques in working with parents of young children 

• Participants will identify the neurobiological impacts of early childhood trauma for children in play therapy.

• Participants will learn the Child Parent Relationship Therapy- Toddler Model.

• Participants will identify characteristics of traumatized play in young children who are in play therapy




Mary Morrison Bennett, PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S, CCPT-S, CPRT-S is a Fellow at the Institute for Play Therapy at Texas State University and former Associate Professor of Professional Counseling. Dr. Bennett received her B.S. in Special Education at Texas Christian University, her M.Ed and PhD in Counseling from the University of North Texas. 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 on play therapy across the United States and in England, Ireland and Russia. Dr. Bennett 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. She has been recognized for her professional contributions including the recipient of the Dissertation Award by the Association for Play Therapy for her research on Child Teacher Relationship Training and the Nancy Guillory Award by The Texas Association for Play Therapy. Her research interests include childhood trauma, toddlers and preschoolers, Child Parent Relationship Therapy and Child Teacher Relationship Training. 


Saturday, June 23, 2018 (9:00am-4:30pm)

Supervision in Play Therapy

Misty Solt, PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S, CCPT-S, CPRT-S


Misty Solt, PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S, CCPT-S, CPRT-S is a Licensed Professional Counselor- Supervisor in the state of Texas. Dr. Solt is also a National Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapy-Supervisor, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Certified Child-Centered Play Therapy-Supervisor, Certified Child-Parent Relationship Therapist-Supervisor, and Board Certified in Neurotherapy. Dr. Solt received her Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from Eastern Illinois University in 1998 and completed her Doctorate in Counseling with a specialty in Play Therapy at the University of North Texas in 2003. Over the years, Dr. Solt has worked as a counselor in the following areas: school crisis counseling, in-home counseling, agency counseling, and private practice. Dr. Solt is currently serving on full-time faculty as an Associate Clinical Professor at SMU. Prior to serving on faculty, she was the Clinic Director of the SMU Center for Family Counseling for three years. Dr. Solt has also served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Play Therapy and has been a Supervisor for the Intensive Play Therapy Supervision component of the Summer Institute since 2000. Dr. Solt has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at UNT in the areas of Practicum, Assessment, and Filial Therapy. In May of 2003, Dr. Solt opened Neurotherapy and Counseling Services, which provides counseling services to children, adolescents, and families, as well as supervision to LPC-interns and play therapists. Dr. Solt has served on Frisco Independent School District Hope Rising Team, which is a trauma response team to assist children and teens that have experienced a trauma or loss. Dr. Solt is also on the Board of Directors for Camp C.O.P.E., which is an intensive counseling experience offered to children of a deployed or injured parent serving in the military. Dr. Solt has also served on the board of the North Texas Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy for four years. Dr. Solt has authored various articles in the area of play therapy and is the author of “My Special Playtime”. Dr. Solt is a mother of three and resides in Frisco, Texas.