Next Level Play Therapy: A Podcast for Play Therapy Excellence

Cathi Spooner, LCSW, RPT-S

Join me on Next Level Play Therapy, a podcast for child and adolescent therapists seeking to elevate your play therapy services. Hosted by Cathi Spooner, LCSW, RPT-S, at Renewing Hearts Play Therapy Training.

Each episode delves into the nuances of play therapy, exploring innovative techniques, evidence-based practices, and practical strategies for providing exceptional therapeutic experiences. These engaging discussions cover a wide range of topics, including building rapport with children, how to make sure you get great outcomes for clients, therapeutic toys and tools and strategies to use in sessions, addressing trauma and attachment issues, engaging parents, promoting emotional regulation, and nurturing resilience for children and their families.

Whether you're an experienced therapist looking to refine your skills or a novice clinician venturing into the world of play therapy, the Next Level Play Therapy podcast equips you with the knowledge and insights to enhance your play therapy practice. With interviews featuring experts in play therapy, exploration of best practices, discussion of game-changing principles and strategies, this podcast equips you with the tools to unlock the amazing power of play therapy to transform the lives of children, adolescents, and families.

Tune in to Next Level Play Therapy and take a journey towards becoming an exceptional play therapist as we navigate the next level strategies that lead to profound healing and growth for children and their families.


read less
EducationEducation

Episodes

How Can the AAI Be Used in Play Therapy to Create Secure Attachments?
3d ago
How Can the AAI Be Used in Play Therapy to Create Secure Attachments?
One of the things I regularly hear from play therapists is their frustration knowing what is the most effective way to work with parents in play therapy.This is especially true when working with children in families that are very challenging.Children exist within the context of their families and supporting parents to be the therapeutic agents of change for their children is an important task for play therapists.How do you engage parents in play therapy and support a secure attachment with their children?How do you assess parenting capacity to create a secure attachment with their children?Have you heard of the AAI?The Adult Attachment Interview.What does the AAI have to do with play therapy?Learning how to use the AAI provides a wealth of information for play therapists to better understand parents My guest, Karen Doyle Buckwalter, LCSW, RPT-S, will discuss the benefits of using the AAI when working with parents and how it can help you better support parents to create secure attachments with their children.If you want to learn how to help parents become therapeutic agents of change for their children, then you don’t want to miss this episode.and helping them to create secure attachments with their children.Interested in learning more?Join me for this free podcast!Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills
How to Set Up Play Therapy for Success
Jul 11 2024
How to Set Up Play Therapy for Success
From an attachment theory standpoint, structure is an important part of parenting.It helps children understand relationship boundaries, protects them from possible harm, provides a sense of safety and order, and allows them to understand how actions impact them and others.How we provide structure is very important - Not too rigid and not too loose. Just right structure is the 🔑to success.This is also true when providing play therapy to children and their families.One of the biggest reasons I find that play therapists get lost and frustrated, especially when working with parents is 👇they have not fully identified their expectations for how their play therapy services are provided and 👇they didn’t clearly communicate that to parents from the very beginning of play therapy treatment.This has the potential to create frustration for clients and parents, reduce the effectiveness of your play therapy services, and cause parents to pull their child from play therapy.What can you do?How can you set up your play therapy services for success from the very beginning?Join me for this free weekly podcast, I’ll share with you strategies that I’ve learned over the past three decades working with children and families.I’ll answer questions that I get asked ALL the time by play therapists about getting better engagement from parents and their children.Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills
What is Imposter Syndrome in Play Therapy?
Jul 4 2024
What is Imposter Syndrome in Play Therapy?
If you’re a play therapist, especially new to play therapy, I’m going to share a secret with you.You may not believe me when I tell you this.If you feel like a fraud using play therapy …If you feel overwhelmed and struggling with thoughts that you suck using play therapy and that your clients are probably suffering because of your incompetence …This is likely a lie your brain is telling you. 🤯It’s called Imposter Syndrome.Every play therapist I’ve ever worked with to learn play therapy feels this way.Yep!  You’re not the only one who feels like an imposter.  I promise!And, the likelihood that you actually suck using play therapy is pretty slim.I know - I can hear you thinking that I’m wrong because you’re pretty sure you’re a terrible play therapist.If this is you, then 👇Join me for this free weekly podcast, I’ll share tips for gaining confidence using play therapy so you can make a difference in the lives of your clients.Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills
How to Get Unstuck in Play Therapy
Jun 27 2024
How to Get Unstuck in Play Therapy
Have you ever felt like you’re lost and not sure what to do when you’re providing play therapy?Maybe you’ve secretly thought that you aren’t cut out to be a play therapist because you’re terrible at it.At some point in your learning journey to help your clients heal using play therapy, you’ve probably felt lost, overwhelmed, and frustrated.Typically, you’re imposter syndrome kicks it and can leave you feeling like you aren’t helping your clients and you worry that you may actually be making things worse.Or - you feel lost and overwhelmed thinking that you need to convince parents that play therapy is actually working 👇And this only adds more stress because your imposter syndrome is in high gear which makes you feel even more lost and confused about what to do and how to show parents that you know what you’re doing.You are not alone.  Anyone who has ever gone before you to learn how to help children heal using play therapy has experienced all of these emotions.Heck! Even experienced play therapists feel overwhelmed sometimes.If this is you, then join me for this free weekly podcast, I’ll discuss how to recognize when you are lost using play therapy and some tips for what to do to get back on track.We’ve all been there and you are not alone so join me for this week’s episode and I’ll see you there!Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills
How Do You Know if Play Therapy Works?
Jun 20 2024
How Do You Know if Play Therapy Works?
What’s the point of learning to recognize themes in play therapy sessions?Does it really matter?Play therapists often talk about what play themes occurred in their clients’ play therapy sessions.Are play themes even real or are we just making them up to justify that play therapy is actually working?We know that play therapy has become the “go-to” treatment approach for children and several play therapy models are considered evidence-based.But what about play themes?  We talk about them, but has anyone researched them and their role in play therapy sessions?YES!!A group of researchers examined behavior and play themes using a case study approach with qualitative and quantitative measures.  While there are definitely limitations with this research approach, the benefit of gaining a closer look at what happens in play therapy sessions provides important information for play therapists and the field of play therapy.Join me for this free weekly podcast, I’ll discuss play themes and understanding play behavior in play therapy.  Then I’ll discuss the study and its implications for your play therapy work with children.Citation for the study discussed:Snow, M. S., Hudspeth, E. F., Gore, B., and Seale, H. A. (2007). A comparison of behaviors and play themes over a six-week period: Two case studies in play therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 16(2), 147-159. doi.10.1037/1555-6824.16.2.147Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills
How Can Play Therapy Heal Preverbal Trauma?
Jun 13 2024
How Can Play Therapy Heal Preverbal Trauma?
Do children who’ve experienced trauma prior to developing language have the capacity to remember what happened to them?Does the traumatic experience go away on its own?I’ve often heard people, including child serving professionals, dismiss the possibility of the negative impact of neglect and early trauma on infants and young children.Especially the trauma caused by invasive medical procedures on infants and children even though the procedures are necessary.I find it perplexing that professionals in the mental health community and social services community would dismiss the impact of early traumatic experiences on children.That’s usually when I go back to what research tells us about trauma.Research tells us, especially the groundbreaking work of Bessel Van der Kolk,  that traumatic experiences are stored somatically in the body.How can mental health professionals help these young children to overcome the negative impact of preverbal trauma?Yep, you guessed it - Play Therapy!Spiel, Lombardi, and DeRubeis-Byrne (2019) provide a case study using psychoanalytic play therapy to facilitate healing for a three-year old client.It’s a fascinating case study with excerpts from sessions and a discussion of the clinical insights gained using psychoanalytic play therapy.Interested in learning how play therapy can facilitate healing for young children who experienced pre-verbal trauma?Join me for this free weekly podcast, I’ll provide an overview of the case study and discuss how play therapists can help traumatized young children to heal.If you’re interested in reading the study, here’s the citation:Spiel, S., Lombardi, K., and DeRebeis-Byrne, L. (2019). Treating traumatized children: Somatic memories and play therapy. Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 18(1), 1-12. doi.10.1080/15289168.2019.1566974Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills
Are Open Notes Useful for Play Therapy?
May 9 2024
Are Open Notes Useful for Play Therapy?
If you’re a mental health professional in the United States, you might have heard about the CURES Act.It’s created quite a buzz in the mental health community.Maybe you’ve heard of Open Notes.Essentially the discussion about progress notes in the medical community, including the mental health community, revolves around clients’ access to their medical records.Open Notes are a form of co-creating progress notes with clients.When dealing with challenging topics and issues, I find it helpful to check out what the research says.So, that’s what I did.Join me for this free weekly podcast, I’m going to discuss this challenging topic regarding client access to progress notes, including parental access.  I’ll review a recent study that explored the benefits and weaknesses for using Open Notes.I’ll also discuss issues near and dear to play therapists 👇how to maintain the privacy of your young clients, including progress notes about their sessions. If you’re interested in reading the study for yourself, here’s the citation:Blease, C., Kharko, A., Hagglund, M., O”Neill, S., Wachenheim, D., Salmi, L., Harcourt, K., Locher, C., DesRoches, C. M., and Torous, J. (2021). The  benefit and harms of open notes in mental health: A Delphi survey of international experts. PLoS ONE, 16(10), 1-14. Doi.1037/journal.pone.0258056Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills
How to Engage Challenging Children in Play Therapy
Apr 4 2024
How to Engage Challenging Children in Play Therapy
If you’re a child/adolescent mental health professional, then you probably have children and adolescents on your caseload who are reluctant to engage in therapy.These children can be overwhelming and frustrating, even for seasoned therapists.What can you do to engage them in sessions so you can help them?Knowing how to use play therapy strategies effectively can make a huge difference to engage your young clients in the change process.Join me for this week’s podcast episode with my guest, Liana Lowenstein, MSW.Liana Lowenstein has worked in the child/adolescent mental health community for over 35 years and has helped thousands of professionals use strategies that work.She’s an internationally recognized expert and her 14 books are used by mental health professionals all over the world. You won’t want to miss this dynamic podcast episode.My guest, Liana Lowenstein, and I will be discussing reasons why children can be difficult to engage in treatment and how to help them.Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills
How Do Play Therapists Understand Themes in Play Therapy?
Mar 21 2024
How Do Play Therapists Understand Themes in Play Therapy?
One of the biggest struggles for play therapists is understanding and recognizing themes in play therapy.Play therapists use themes in play therapy sessions to help them understand what’s going on with their clients and how they are progressing in play therapy.But, I’ve always wondered who decided what themes represent or how we recognize them in play therapy sessions.So, I went on a journey of looking into what research has to say about themes in play therapy. (My journey is more like getting lost down the “rabbit hole” and finally re-emerging after a few hours. 🤣 My husband just knows to find me when I re-emerge or check to see if I’m still here.  😂)I found an interesting study published in 2021 exploring if play themes could be identified using a standardized instrument.Join me for this free weekly podcast,  I’ll share highlights from the study and how play therapists can use the information to help them understand themes in play therapy.  Here’s the citation for the article:Bridget, S., Parson, J., and Renshaw, K. (2021). Can children’s themes be assessed to inform play therapy practice? Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 26(1), 257-267. doi.10.1177/1359104520964510Join my free Facebook Community Play and Expressive Arts Therapy Playground.Check out my free resources for mental health professionals working with children, adolescents, and families who want to integrate play therapy and expressive arts into their clinical work. I work with individuals and agencies to develop successful strategies and meet the treatment needs of your child and adolescent clients and their families using play therapy & expressive arts.Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute video call if you're ready to level up your skills