Play Therapy 

Play therapy is a therapeutic practice that uses play to help people, generally children, to communicate and express themselves. Typically used on children ages 3 through 11, play therapy can help to resolve social problems and aid in growth and development. Play therapy provides a safe space for children to act out their fantasies and express their feelings and thoughts. Because a child’s emotions are often communicated through play, it is often easier for a child to express their feelings through toys, instead of words.

Local experts in Play Therapy 

Nancy Pearson, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Play is the medium for children to express themselves and to gain mastery over challenges in their environment. It is their 'language' and their course of meaningful action. I have trained and practiced in support of children gaining full expression of themselves. It is also a way for me to learn about a child so that I can assist the parent(s) to find harmony with their child.

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Michelle Pliske

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

DSW LCSW RPT-S

Play therapy involves using toys, sand, art, games, and other materials to help children express themselves. Play offers the child an environment of safety. If children are able to say what they think or how they feel through toys and art with someone who can translate their behavior and facilitate the process, they will respond positively and are able to successfully work through their problems.

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Maria Arias

Licensed Professional Counselor

I get it! I get what it’s like to parent a child who suffers with frustration, is having big meltdowns and experiencing difficulty at home or school. Learn to transform difficulty into cooperation. And, help soothe meltdowns into connection, and pivot from frustration to learning!

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Firefly Institute

Licensed Professional Counselor

Play therapy involves using toys, sand, art, games, and other materials to help children express themselves. Play offers the child an environment of safety. If children are able to say what they think or how they feel through toys and art with someone who can translate their behavior and facilitate the process, they will respond positively and are able to successfully work through their problems.

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Bryanna Goodman

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Play therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child – play.

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Family Roots Therapy

Licensed Professional Counselor

Our child therapists have extensive experience in play therapy, including a specialized form of play-based therapy called Child-Parent Psychotherapy, which focuses on the parent-child relationship and increasing connection and attachment in young children. We are unique in having experience and training in working with children under 6 years old, which is a highly specialized area in counseling.

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Kelly Reams MSW, BCD Psychoanalyst

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

I began learning play therapy 1978 in graduate school with analytic supervision using play technique to understand child's emotional and behavioral issues. Studied with the Child Therapy Study Group for over 10 years meeting as a group and weekly individual supervision. Also did 1 year child analytic training, Seattle, worked 8 years Child Psychiatry OHSU, 3 years residential treatment children.

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Courtney Burns

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

I have received specialized training in utilizing play therapy with children. I have worked a variety of settings to practice play therapy with children experiencing trauma or other life changes.

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Rivka Sidelsky (they/them)

Licensed Professional Counselor

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Katrina Thatcher (she/her)

Licensed Professional Counselor Intern

LPC Intern

Play is kids’ most natural form of communication. Toys are to kids what words are to adults. Play Therapy, like counseling for adults, lets kids express their feelings and process their experiences in order to develop more effective strategies for managing their worlds.

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Sofia Jasani (she/her/hers)

Licensed Professional Counselor Intern

LPC Intern, NCC

Play is the language of childhood. Young children respond to stress and change differently than adults do, and they communicate differently, too. As a play therapist, I provide a safe environment where children can express their emotions, learn coping skills, develop self-control, and build self-esteem in a way that comes naturally to them. I love working with children, and would be honored to help support your family!

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Brittany Eide

Licensed Professional Counselor Intern

I am a Certified Synergetic Play Therapist and I have taken a diverse array of play therapy courses over the years. I also received supervision from a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor. Lastly, I have years of experience working with youth of all ages.

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Rochelle Mollen (she/her)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LCSW

Play therapy is a helpful therapeutic method that allows children to express a range of emotions and thoughts and learn how to cope with stress and trauma. Children's natural mode of expression is through play and this modality fits into their schema about self and the world around them. Play therapy can be directive or non-directive depending on the needs of the child.

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Brettyn Gibson

Marriage Family Therapist Intern

Play is the natural language of children. All of my work with clients will involve play on some degree!

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Desiree Stang

Licensed Professional Counselor Intern

I enjoy doing play therapy with clients whether that is using sand tray, playing music, or doing art therapy. I try to incorporate whatever interests or talents my clients has into the counseling session. I have also had clients bring in their animals from home to play with while we have sessions.

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