Oregon Association for Play Therapy
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Newsletter

April, 2019

1) As therapists trained in play therapy, we know one of the key features is to utilize reflection statements during a child’s play. The nature of reflection statements are encouraging and help link themes during the play session, as well as a useful tracking method for the therapist. Through these statements, therapists are also able to focus on effort of the child. In this article, we explore the benefits of “effort praise” versus “ability praise” and how children receive these two different types. To read more about this, click here.

2) “Childhood is important and critical period in human life. The foundation of ego is shaped in childhood. Play therapy is one of the successful strategies to help children with inner conflicts problems. This method of psychotherapy is based on the normal learning processes of children, provides solutions to relieve feelings of stress, and expands self-expression. Group play therapy can enhance the self-awareness, self- regulation, social communication, empathy and adaptability in children.” To read more, click here.

March, 2019

1) Play therapy merging with a mental health clinic brings valuable care not only to children, but also to the community as a whole. A clinic at the University of Loyola, based in New Orleans, has recently incorporated Play therapy to serve its patients, “The center serves both as a place for education as well as a clinic providing play therapy to members of the community”. This latest news in an article from late February with The Maroon, has presented this clinic as the only center approved by the National Association of Play Therapy in Louisiana and is one of only thirty such centers throughout the country. As therapists see a rise in mental health needs, this article reaffirms that providing care through a play therapy lens can bring a different approach that enhances care for our families. From primary care interventions to education and prevention, play therapy adds undeniable value to health care treatment. To view the article and read on, click here.

2) Playworks is a non-profit organization that believes play is a basic human need and the right of every child. Playworks has been partnering with schools and organization to promote the importance of play since 1995. Play therapists who know about Playworks understand that this organization knows the importance of supporting the learning and positive growth of children through play, “Kids who play are resilient, empathetic, and active. Through play, kids learn to make friends, solve problems, and believe in themselves. Even in hard times”. Playworks offers a free guide of Social Emotional Learning Games! Get yours here!

3)New research has shown that children who start kindergarten at younger ages than their peers are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Play therapy professionals play an important role in helping families and children navigate school transitions and advocating for environments, assessments, and interventions that are developmentally responsive while also helping to differentiate between a true ADHD diagnosis and typical development. To read more, click here!

4) Play therapists often have to help parents, families, teachers, and other mental health professionals understand what play therapy is and how it works. One tool for building credibility and getting ‘buy-in’ from the important adults in a child’s life is utilizing research that supports the effectiveness of play therapy. The evidence-based child therapy website provides a searchable database of all play therapy intervention outcome research from 1995 to the present and is an amazing tool for play therapy professionals to use to support their work. To read more, click here!

February, 2019

1) Gender diversity and children can be a delicate subject to navigate with parents, teachers, and caregivers. There is minimal research on gender non-conforming (or gender expansive) children. Everyone wants the best for their children but differing views on gender and, often, confusion around the relationship between gender and sexuality, can create tension as to what is "best" for a child. An article in the January edition of the Atlantic discusses a large, long-term study done by Kristina Olson at the University of Washington, tracking the health and well-being of transgender children. The study shows children's sense of their identity (gathered through 5 assessments) is strongly related to the likelihood they will eventually socially transition (use felt gender affirming pronouns - often accompanied by change of hairstyle, dress, and name). This research indicates often a gender expansive child's sense of their identity is formed before the child transitions and is starting to be treated as their chosen identity. I.e. treating a child assigned male at birth like a little girl will not cause the child to feel as if they are a girl. The child's sense of their identity as a girl is already developed. Play therapists can help families by both empathizing with differing perspectives and the challenges of navigating new ways of viewing gender and by using current research, though minimal, to help educate the adults in these children's lives. To view the article and read on, click here.

2) Do you know Sesame Street has a website!? It may be old news to some of you but it's news to us and the resource is incredible for kids and caregivers. Adults need to sign up to access the website (it's free) but then you can access amazing "toolkits" with a variety of resources (videos, activities, etc.) to help kids deal with challenges that come up in their lives ranging from grief to asthma to divorce to support after an emergency. Click Here to see!