Oregon Association for Play Therapy


September 2017 Traning

The Complicated World of Divorce: Meeting the Needs of Children through Yoga and Play Therapy

Brief Description:

Children are unique with differing strengths and weaknesses, temperaments and varying degrees of social, emotional and economic resources. Divorce diminishes a child's future competence in many areas of life, including relationships, education, emotional well-being, and future earning power (Anderson, 2014). We seek to address the disparity children of divorce face through a group process that incorporates both play therapy and yoga principles. Group therapy creates community between two or more clients and a play therapist around a central issue providing a center in which a child no longer feels alone within their process (Sweeney, Baggerly & Ray, 2014). Play therapy offers the culturally competent counter-conditioning of adverse experiences reestablishing a sense of power and control involving developmentally appropriate means of communication to increase regulation skills and mastery (Gaskill & Perry, 2014). Finally, yoga is an innovative practice to decrease symptomatology associated with a dysregulated nervous system. Yoga treats somatic issues such as stress, anxiety, or hyperarousal (Galantino, 2008). Dovetailing yoga with play therapy within a group process forms the foundation for connection and safety, thus increasing regulation and creating the ability for cognitive restructuring of adverse events such as divorce. Current neuroscience of the nervous system will be reviewed together with play therapy and yoga for support group programming along with adaptations for individual or family treatment planning. Specific attention will be paid to the legal and ethical issues that accompany a family system moving through divorce to equip therapists with information to navigate potentially sticky situations.

Learning Objectives:

  • After the workshop, participants will identify three areas of the brain: Brain stem, limbic system & cortex associated with the stress response cycle and be able to successfully pair two-three reflective statements which target each one of these areas for integrated neural networking within the nervous system.
  • After the workshop, participants will understand how to successfully combine six play therapy techniques with yoga for children to develop adaptive regulation skills. This creates the first six weeks of a support group designed for children of divorce.
  • After the workshop, participants will increase their ability to document cases effectively and preserve the therapeutic relationship within the court process by applying two areas from their professional code of ethics in preparing for potential records requests or testimony within divorce cases.


Non-members: $140 ($155 at the door)

ORAPT Members: $80 ($95 at the door)

Students: $50 ($65 at the door)

CEU's Provided:

6 CEU's provided by APT


Friday September 15th, 9:00am - 4:30pm


5210 SW Corbett Ave, Portland, OR 97239


Michelle M. Pliske, MSW, RPT-S, LCSW, is the founder and clinical director of Firefly Counseling Services, PC a clinic designed to meet the needs of children through expressive therapies. She is an assistant professor of social work and policy at Pacific University and a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Social Work and Social Policy. She holds graduate certificates in synergetic play therapy, EMDR, animal assisted human health, trauma informed care, children's yoga and adoption/foster care.

Lindsay Balboa, MSSW, LCSW, is a licensed social worker and child and family therapist at Firefly Counseling Services, P.C She holds post graduate certifications in adoption and foster care, children's yoga and is progressing towards her registered play therapy certification, infant and toddler mental health endorsement and animal assisted human health certification. She has extensive knowledge and experience with navigating the legal and court system through her specialized work with foster care, adoption, and divorcing families.