016. Healing through Play: Play Therapy Techniques with Traumatized Children

Afternoon Workshops (1:30 – 4:45 PM)


Terra Mattson, M.A.

CE Credits


Professional CE Credit

Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Chemical Dependency Counselors,

IBCC Credit

Pastoral Counselors, Pastors, Teachers, Coaches,

CME/CEU Credit




Play is the language of children. Children are not miniature adults and are done a disservice when adults assume they will rise to a developmental level beyond their years through verbal conversation and other developmentally inappropriate treatments. Play is the natural language of children and provides the most safe and effective place to process their experiences. Through highly interactive and experiential training on play therapy techniques with traumatized children, licensed mental health professionals who work with traumatized children will be equipped to not only understand the effects and treatment of trauma but also learn how to apply play therapy techniques that are developmentally appropriate for children and provide long-term healing. Using the wisdom of child-centered therapy and the most recent insights from experts on trauma, the integration of play therapy with children who have experienced abuse, divorce, school violence, bullying, poverty, war, and more. The unique integration of trauma, neurobiology, spiritual formation, and child-centered therapy combined with biblical truths for willing faith-based clients and relational research will help any counselor, ministry leader, and parent become better equipped to serve vulnerable children through the power of play.

Learning Objectives
Participants will:
1. Analyze the research that shows the impact of trauma on children, their brain development, identity, and sense of safety in the world.
2. Evaluate whether play therapy is developmentally appropriate for children who have been traumatized and how it works to bring about healing.
3. Outline how to diagnose and treat children through play therapy techniques that can be implemented immediately in clinical settings.
4. Discuss and explore relevant case studies of play therapy and its effectiveness on traumatized children.