Oregon Association for Play Therapy


September Training 2018 


Child and Family Trauma: Working with Parents and Children in Play Therapy

Date: September 28th, 2018

Time: 9am-4:00pm

Location: OSU Cascades Campus: 1500 SW Chandler Ave, Bend, Oregon 97702

ROOM: DINE#204.  (They are changing the name of the building, so it will either say “Obsidian” or “DINE”)

Workshop Overview:

Play therapists often receive referrals where there has been trauma to the whole family. The parent(s)’s priority may be to find help for the child(ren). However, the family’s emotional experience, especially in crisis, is closely interconnected. As well, young children in distress are often resistant to leaving their parents’ proximity to enter the playroom. This workshop addresses the question of how to provide a therapeutic experience for all family members, using a play therapy approach that integrates family systems theory.

Videotape will be presented from one year of the family play therapy of a father and son who have witnessed the murder of their wife/mother. The workshop will explore both developmental and systemic issues, as well as the process of healing from trauma.  This unique case can provide a doorway to use similar techniques in the wide range of child and family issues that we see in our own practices.  

The challenges that this case presents are many:

  • what does the child understand of the event he has witnessed?

  • what can he comprehend about aggression and death at this early age?

  • what would ‘making peace’ with this loss mean for a 3 year old?

  • what does the father need in his grieving process?

  • is it appropriate for father and son to be together or separate for therapy?

  • to what degree can father and son’s healing take place within the structure of play therapy?

Drawing on Jungian theory, family systems theory and child directed play therapy practices, this presentation will address the questions faced by the therapist and the parent as they work together to provide a safe environment for the child’s expression of both his inner and outer experiences of his mother’s death in play. The issue of developmental stages in trauma work with young children will be addressed. This workshop will also highlight the essential part played by the father and extended family in this child’s healing. As well, we will be exploring the basic tenets of family systems theory and looking at how our own family dynamics and themes can both hinder and improve our ability to work with two generations together.

Learning Objectives: 

Revisit basic principles of intrapsychic and systemic theory and identify four that can be drawn on to build a foundation for the integration of play and family therapy.Identify family situations which suggest that bringing adults and children into the therapy space together would be helpful or counter-indicated at the present time.Learn five techniques for working therapeutically with the whole family together.Using experiential exercises, examine our own family themes that might arise, in order to draw on the learning within our own family systems to enhance our work with familiesBecome more comfortable and skilled with the option of using both play and talk with families in the therapy room.Gain familiarity of childrens’ grieving process at different stages of development.


Members of COAP* and ORAPT: $95

Non-Members: $170

*Membership in COAP is limited to active and retired psychologist and psychologist residents residing in Central Oregon.

CEU's: 6 CEU's provided.

Presenter: Mary Anne Paré, M.Ed., presented for COAP in October 2013 and received rave reviews from her workshop participants!  She is a child and family therapist who began her career as a child care counselor in the 1970’s, working in residential settings, treatment centers and group homes. While working with children who were both within and separated from their families, she recognized the necessity of understanding family systems in order to work effectively with children and youth. Further training included Pacific Coast Family Therapy Training Institute and a Masters in Family Counseling from the Department of Counseling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Canada, as well as seven years of weekly supervision in play and family therapy. Recognizing the value of both therapeutic approaches, Mary Anne developed an integrated model of playing and talking with parents and young children together, which has been a special focus in her practice, as well as in the training and supervision of family and child therapists.

Ongoing Trainings


ORAPT is co-sponsoring trainings by: 
Firefly Institute of Research and Education:
Play Therapy and Professional Clinical Training