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Play Therapy Conference 2014

"Play, Nurturing the Neurons"

The Engineers House, The Promenade, Clifton Down, Bristol, BS8 3NB

13th to 21st June 2014
Plenary day 14th June 2014


14th June - Morning - Plenary Sessions
14th June - Afternoon - CPD Workshops
W1 - The Sick Child and Therapeutic Hospital Play
W2 - Play Therapy with Deaf Children
W3 - Sensory Attachment and the Therapeutic Play Space
W4 - Applying PTDM to a Trauma Therapy framework
W5 - Archetypal Roleplay

Post Qualifying Course - Certificate in Clinical Supervision
Post Qualifying Course - Certificate in Filial Coaching/Mentoring
Post Qualifying Course - Certificate in Sandplay Skills (part 1 & 2)
Post Qualifying Course - Certificate in Counselling Children and Young People
Conference Programme of Events
Download the Conference Application Form

2014 PTUK and PTI Conference ‘Play, Nurturing the Neurons’

On considering the theme for this year’s conference we were drawn to thoughts relating to clients with additional needs, or as some may call "special needs", although I am sure you will agree, ALL of our clients are special. We also looked at the drive initiated by Jeff Thomas, who has been the keypin to establishing the training in Neuroscience on certificate and diploma courses, and how this is now integral to our work as professionals in Play Therapy across the world.

Putting these two areas together, we hope we have created a conference that will keep you informed of the work and research in Play Therapy and how the topic of Neuroscience underpins so much of what we do. As innovative practitioners we are continually striving to find the best option for our clients and their families or carers, and the knowledge and skills for ourselves to enable us to work with the clients at a professional level. We aim to provide you with thought-provoking training from our workshops and an alternative approach to children with special needs from our keynote speaker, Dr Robin Pauc.

The main conference day is 14th June and we encourage you to attend and meet with other like minded colleagues, hear about the year in Play Therapy from our Chief Executive, Monika Jephcott, about the progress of PTUK over the past year, and from Jeff Thomas as Registrar of the AVR, an update on the registration process.This is followed by the keynote speaker, Dr Robin Pauc, who will address us on his work and research into children with special needs.

After lunch there are the following workshops.

"The Sick Child and Therapeutic Hospital Play" by Ligia Hamp

"Play Therapy with Deaf Children" by Lara Kasza and team

"Applying the PTDM to a trauma therapy framework: Identifying the neurobiology mechanisms at play" by Katherine Olejbiczak

"Archetypal Roleplay" Kate McCairt

"Sensory Attachment and the Therapeutic Play Space" Deirdre Kavanagh


Seven CPD points may be claimed for attending 14th June 2014.
The same amount of CPD points for the Pre Conference Day on 13th of June.
  • Sandplay Theory day to be taken together with the 4 days Sandplay training
  • Supervisor follow up day for those who have done the APAC supervisor course and need to present their case study
  • Supervisor Top Up day for those who want to be Approved Supervisors for
  • Introduction to the MA in Practice Based Play Therapy Course
There are also three proven Post Qualifying Courses offered as post conference events.

They are:
  • PQ Certificate in Clinical Supervision
  • PQ Filial Play Coaching Certificate
  • PQ Therapeutic Sandplay Skills Certificate
And one new PQ course
  • PQ Counselling Children and Young People: Conversion Course to add Talking Therapies to your existing skills for working with CYP
Each of these PQ courses enables you to fulfil your CPD requirements for the whole year. They will significantly enhance your skills and with the PTUK/PTI Post Qualify- ing Certificates, aid your career development and complement your CV.

Plenary Sessions - 14th June 2014

8.00Arrive and receive your conference papers etc. Refreshments etc will be available.
9.00Welcome by Monika Jephcott Chief Executive APAC
9.30Jeff Thomas Registrar
9.45Keynote address by Dr Robin Pauc
11.00Refreshments and discussion break
11.30Keynote Address by Dr Robin Pauc
13.00 -14.00Lunch
14.00 -17.00Workshops

Dr Robin Pauc is an expert in child neurology and approaches learning difficulties from a ground- breaking perspective. He is a researcher and author of a number of books on learning and behavioural issues of childhood. Dr Pauc says, "It is my belief that we are now well into a new and particularly exciting era of neurology, where our understanding of how the brain grows and develops postnatally, is increasing on a daily basis."


Because of the therapeutic and experiential nature of these workshops, most are restricted in numbers so please choose two - one as your first choice and a second in case your first choice is already full.

W1 - The Sick Child and Therapeutic Hospital Play presented by Ligia Hamp

Play therapists are very likely to receive a referral to work with a child who lives with a chronic condition or a child who needs for an invasive procedure. Play is at the very centre of children’s lives.Whether they live a very healthy life or not, play is very important for their development. It is through play that children explore the world around them and play helps to make sense of the unknown; it helps children learn to relate to other people and to have fun.

When children and teenagers are admitted to hospital or are living with a chronic condition they are at their most vulnerable, not only ill, but also separated from their friends and all that is familiar to them and play can make the difference to promote healing and diminish regression and anxiety.

Therapeutic Hospital Play helps:
  • The child to regain confidence and self esteem
  • Provide an outlet for feelings of anger and frustration
  • Help the child to understand treatment and illness.Through play children and teenagers are more able to effectively learn the sensory and concrete information they need to prepare for hospital procedures and treatment.
  • Aid assessment and diagnosis
  • Speed recovery and rehabilitation
So with this in mind, I have agreed to hold a workshop for Play Therapists to bring awareness of the needs of this client group and to share ideas and my experience as a Health Play Specialist.

Ligia is a freelance Play Therapist, presently working in primary schools in Sussex. She has over 20 years experience working as a Health Play Specialist in hospital, community, special needs and education. Ligia’s passion is working with children whether they are well or living with a condition which impacts their development, in a creative way to enable them to reach their individual potential.

W2 - ‘Play Therapy with Deaf Children’

Statistics report that 40% of the 34,000 deaf children born and living in the UK will suffer from some mental health problem in their childhood (SignCharity, 2012).

As play therapists we already have the essential skills to support these vulnerable children and can expand and develop them to meet the specific needs of these children who present with:
  • a range of hearing loss
  • a range of communication styles
  • and a range of referral criteria
This 3 hour experiential and theoretical workshop is led by a team of experienced hearing and deaf play therapists and will focus on:
  • Grounding training in deaf awareness including descriptors of levels of deafness and varying communication styles (BSL, SSE etc.).
  • Adapting with ‘creative fidelity’ our therapeutic skills to meet the needs of deaf children in play therapy through discussion of film clips.
  • Discussion with Q&A’s with the panel.

Workshop day: Saturday 14 June 2014, Bristol, PTUK Conference 2pm - 5pm

Workshop team: Lara Kasza, Cathy Hughes, Helen Farthing & Sarah Clark (PTUK Play Therapists).
BSL interpreters and loop available.
W3 - Sensory Attachment and the Therapeutic Play Space

Children who have a history of separation, loss, abuse and neglect are likely to present with both attachment disorders and sensory processing difficulties. Children, from secure backgrounds, who have sensory processing disorders, may also have emotional difficulties which are sensory based.

So it is with this in mind that I have adopted an approach which includes sensory integration into my therapeutic space. When the client can play symbolically in a sensory attached setting, that provides womb, mother-child, father-child and independent therapeutic space, the play therapy process has the potential to become even more dynamic and effective.

This workshop will introduce this integrative approach and
  • Some of the theory underpinning this eclectic neurobehavioural approach.
  • Small group work to explore our clients’ presenting concerns from the sensory attachment perspective.
  • Opportunity to try out some materials that could be included as part of your play kit
  • Experiential exercise, use of food, touch, movement, sound and visual stimuli to help regulate arousal states.

Presented by Deirdre Kavanagh. Deirdre is the Director of the Sandy Lane Institute in Ireland which offers play and creative art therapies, psychotherapy, clinical supervision, consultancy work and training. Deirdre’s passion lies in training and the potential for the therapists’ own personal growth and understanding of self gained through the use of creative mediums particularly sandplay.

W4 - "Applying the PTDM to a trauma therapy framework: Identifying the neurobiological mechanisms at play"

Katherine Olejniczak
Senior Child & Family Counsellor Child Trauma Service,Tasmania Australian Childhood Foundation

The play therapy field increasingly recognises the importance of trauma informed practice in underpinning therapeutic work with traumatised children.

Consequently, existing play therapy orientations and practice frameworks must reflect how the trauma paradigm is able to be integrated. Neuroscience offers a bridge between theory and practice.

This workshop presentation explores the integration of neuroscience and the Play Therapy Dimensions Model (PTDM) in guiding play therapy practice. Based on the outcomes of research applying the PTDM in trauma therapy with children who have experienced abuse related trauma, specific neurobiological mechanisms will be identified as being central to the PTDM and therapeutic process.

This workshop is ideal for therapists wishing to enhance the depth of their clinical practice through theory and application of some of the latest neurobiological research. By the end of the workshop participants will:
  • Integrate an understanding of the key principles and theories of child-centred trauma theory and practice - the trauma paradigm, the three-phase trauma therapy framework, play therapy and the PTDM.
  • Understand the neurobiological mechanisms critical to play therapy practice with traumatised children.
  • Be offered a clinical decision-making tool to be used that includes the neurobiological mechanisms, and is applicable for use across a diverse range of clinical presentations.
The presentation will be a mix of theory and research, brought to life through a case study of "Jimmy’s" recovery from abuse-related trauma.


This workshop provides an opportunity to develop understanding of Jung’s concept of archetypes and how they relate to our work in the play room.

We will explore the significance of archetypal energies to our own process and use roleplay to explore these further.

This aims to be a fun and informative afternoon. Theory : Jung, Gareth Hill, Dr Sue Jennings, Presented by

Kate Macairt

The Woolpack, 4 The Dock, Firle, BN8 6NT Tel: 01273 858945


Post Qualifying Certificate in Clinical Supervision - 7 days 15th to 21st June 2014

The role of the Clinical Supervisor has become even more important with ‘Right Touch’ regulation.
This course will enable you to leverage your play therapy experience to help many more children by advising and supporting other practitioners through clinical supervision to maintain high standards of practice. PTI/PTUK accredited training courses are now run at 9 venues in the UK, 2 in Ireland, 1 in France and in 4 other countries, producing a stream of Play/Creative Arts Therapists who require clinical supervision. This course is designed to help to fill the shortage of suitably trained Supervisors. Becoming a Certified Clinical Supervisor is also an essential step on the way to being a PTUK Certified Play Therapy Trainer. Both of these career opportunities will provide extra job satisfaction and additional substantial income.

The course is designed for those who have at least 200 hours experience of working with children or adolescents using play/creative arts therapy, as well as experienced, accredited counsellors. It includes:
  • A model for the supervision of play and creative arts therapies
  • Agreeing contracts
  • Using creative arts for supervision
  • Using the Play Therapy Dimension Model for supervision
  • Supervisees’ training requirements
  • Dealing with supervisees’ career development issues
The course has been updated to take into account the requirements of ‘Right Touch’ regulation and the use of Skype for supervising overseas students.

A 1-day follow-up day, to present your supervision requirements in a peer group, is offered in a year’s time at a cost of £120.
Facilitated by Lindsay Thompson

Post Qualifying Certificate in Filial Coaching - 4 days - 15th to 18th June

Filial Play Coaching & Mentoring is a natural career development for Play Therapists and other practitioners who wish to work with parents and families. The PTUK model places an emphasis on working with socially deprived families. The purpose is to provide practice based training to enable participants to coach parents/carers to use filial play effectively with their children, including the use of touch.

You should be able to incorporate the techniques taught on this course into your work to open up new career opportunities.

Course content includes:
  • Understanding the main models of filial play, their pros and cons
  • How to assess the parents and children being considered for filial play
  • Teaching the parents the importance of play, the main types of play and their purpose so that they can achieve a suitable balance with their children
  • How to ensure that the parents know how to structure a filial play session
  • How to coach parents in the four key skills of filial play
  • Ensuring that the parents know how to focus on the child during a filial play session
  • Demonstrating the use and applicability of the main filial play tools: art, media, music, movement, sandtray, storytelling and puppets clearly indicating which are appropriate for use at home and those that may be used in the therapist’s play room
  • Advising parents upon acquiring, making and using appropriate equipment, materials and toys during their home play sessions according to their circumstances
  • How to ensure that the parents know how to use encouragement during a filial play session
  • Advising parents upon how to make notes on home play sessions suitable for use during the coaching discussions
  • How to integrate the use of filial play with play therapy if this is being used concurrently
  • Maintaining suitable records of progress and carry out quality management of filial play work
  • How to brief other involved organisations and colleagues upon the purpose and methods of filial therapy
The course being offered is an updated version of the original very popular programme. Upon the completion of 40 hours of satisfactory, documented filial play coaching practice, the PTI/PTUK Post Qualifying Certificate in Filial Play Coaching will be awarded. ‘Kite’ marked for academic quality by Canterbury Christ Church University.

Facilitated by Karen O’Neill, Senior APAC Course Director, Accredited Play Therapist and Clinical Supervisor

Post Qualifying Certificate in Sandplay Skills Programme Part 1 -
4 days 15th to 18th June 2014
Preceded by - Theory day 13th June 2014

Post Qualifying Certificate in Sandplay Skills Programme Part 2 -
3 days - 19th to 22nd June 2014

(Please note Parts 1 and 2 cannot be taken together)

If you are a play therapy practitioner, counsellor, psychotherapist or other mental health practitioner who wishes to extend your skills in the therapeutic medium most frequently chosen by children, and also to use sandplay therapy with adolescents and adults, choose this programme.

In Sandplay therapy the client sets up a world in a sand tray that corresponds to their inner state using objects/figures and in the arrangement of the sand. In this manner, through free, creative play, unconscious processes are made visible in a three-dimensional form. Through a series of images that take shape in this way, the process of individuation described by Carl Jung is stimulated and brought to fruition. Sandplay has been termed an ‘X-ray of the Psyche’. You can see the changes in the clients’ processes and progression.

Experiential Training

Doing one’s own sandplay work is essential. In order to engage in the medium of sandplay with a client, the therapist must have experienced the movement of his or her psyche by the same means. To attempt to engage in sandplay with a client without having undergone one’s own sandplay work would not be safe.

The 7-day experiential training that is required is offered is in two parts:
  • Certificate in Therapeutic Sandplay Skills - Part 1. This four day course, preceded by the theory day, will enable you to start practising.
  • Certificate in Therapeutic Sandplay Skills - Part 2. This 3-day course is for those who have previously completed Part 1 and have at least 20 hours of sandplay therapy practice

It is vital that sandplay therapy practitioners have an embedded knowledge of the underlying theoretical principles. This is most effectively accomplished by reading ‘The Handbook of Sand Play Therapy’ by Barbara Turner in advance of the Theory day. (The cost of the book is not included in the Conference progamme but may be purchased through the Amazon link on the PTUK website ). This theoretical part of the programme does not, on its own, provide the competencies required to practice as a sandplay therapy practitioner.

Certificates of attendance will be issued after each experiential training course. The final award of PTI/PTUK ‘Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Sandplay Skills’ will be made upon satisfactory completion of Parts 1 and 2 of the training and 50 clinically supervised hours of practice.

These courses are facilitated by the highly experienced Sandplay Therapist and Trainer, Eunice Stagg who is also a specialist tutor for PTUK accredited Play Therapy courses in the UK and overseas.

Post Qualifying Certificate In Counselling Children and Young People

A 5 Day Conversion course for all certified play therapists to be able to extend their skills.
We all know that young children do not often use talking as a way to resolve their issues but as they grow older this changes.This new course is designed for Certified or Accredited Play Therapists who wish to extend their skills to use talking therapy with children and young persons as well as creative arts media.

You will learn how to
  • Communicate effectively using listening, reflecting, empathy, attending, observing, paraphrasing, summarising skills with children and young people in the therapeutic relationship
  • Have a better understanding of transference and counter transference as it arises in the therapeutic relationship and how to respond effectively
  • Identify the ways in which children and young people manage and process their emotions, including the ability to recognize situations where they are finding it difficult to access these
  • Help the child or young person to find appropriate words to describe their emotions
  • Help the child or young person to verbalise the key concerns, meanings and memories which emerge out of emotional arousal
  • Help the child or young person identify and verbalise the wishes, needs, behaviours and goals associated with feelings and emotions
  • Integrate the use of therapeutic creative arts media (from your Play Therapy experience) directively with talking therapy skills
  • The course will help you increase your self awareness and understand how this can help or hinder the therapeutic relationship

Presented by Susan Atkins who has over 30 years experience of working with children and families in a variety of settings. For the last ten years she has provided Play Therapy within primary schools and more recently has a private practice working with adults. Susan is an Accredited Play Therapist and counsellor, supervisor and trainer for APAC.

Conference Programme
Fri 13th JuneClinical Supervisors' follow up* and top up day.
Sandplay Therapy Theory day and Introduction to the Masters Course day
Sat 14th
09:00-09:45Welcome and opening address - Monika Jephcott, Chief Executive
Update on Registration - Jeff Thomas
09:45-11:00Keynote Address by Dr Robin Pauc
11:00-11:30Coffee and networking break
11:30-13:00Continuation of Keynote Address by Dr Robin Pauc
13:00-14:00Lunch (included in conference fee)
14:00-17:00 W1
The Sick Child and Therapeutic Hospital Play
Play Therapy with Deaf Children
Sensory Attachment and the Therapeutic Play Space
Applying the PTDM to a trauma therapy framework: Identifying the neurobiology mechanisms at play
Archetypal Role Play
Sun 15thPQ Certificate in Clinical Supervision (Day 1)PQ Certificate in Filial Coaching/ Mentoring (Day 1)PQ Certificate in Sandplay Skills Part 1 (Day 1)PQ Certificate in Counselling Children and Y P (Day 1)
Mon 16thPQ Certificate in Clinical Supervision (Day 2)PQ Certificate in Filial Coaching/ Mentoring (Day 2)PQ Certificate in Sandplay Skills Part 1 (Day 2)PQ Certificate in Counselling Children and Y P (Day 2)
Tue 17thPQ Certificate in Clinical Supervision (Day 3)PQ Certificate in Filial Coaching/ Mentoring (Day 3)PQ Certificate in Sandplay Skills Part 1 (Day 3)PQ Certificate in Counselling Children and Y P (Day 3)
Wed 18thPQ Certificate in Clinical Supervision (Day 4)PQ Certificate in Filial Coaching/ Mentoring (Day 4)PQ Certificate in Sandplay Skills Part 1 (Day 4)PQ Certificate in Counselling Children and Y P (Day 4)
Thu 19thPQ Certificate in Clinical Supervision (Day 5) PQ Certificate in Sandplay Skills Part 2 (Day 1)PQ Certificate in Counselling Children and Y P (Day 5)
Fri 20thPQ Certificate in Clinical Supervision (Day 6) PQ Certificate in Sandplay Skills Part 2 (Day 2) 
Sat 21stPQ Certificate in Clinical Supervision (Day 7) PQ Certificate in Sandplay Skills Part 2 (Day 3) 

Conference Booking Application Form

Please download the following application form in either Word or PDF format and return it completed as stated.

MS Word version click HERE
PDF version click HERE

Please contact us if you have any problems or queries on +44 (0)1825 761143 or Thank you.

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