$200 – $400

Introductory Play and Expressive Art Therapy for Children and Adolescents

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Columbia School of Social Work

1255 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027

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Introductory Play and Expressive Art Therapy for Children and Adolescents

6.5 contact hours are available for NYS, NJ and CT Licensed Social Workers. For other states please email swope@columbia.edu

$250 single; $200 each for 5 or more

Alumni will receive a $50 discount. Please email swope@columbia.edu for the promotional code. Your email should contain your name and the year you graduated.

This is an introductory workshop in a two part series with the second workshop being held on February 24, 2018. The second workshop will build on the knowledge and skills learned in the introductory workshop. A special discounted price is offered for those who sign up for both workshops:

$400 for both workshops. $375 for Alumni.

For more information on the Advanced workshop


*Open to the public


Play is the language of children. Play is what fosters learning and development (Russ, 2004), helps children develop roles for survival, creates positive connections and relieves stress (Landreth, 2002).

To understand play is to understand children. Almost 80 percent of social workers regularly work with children and adolescents, yet over half do not consider it their practice area and do not have training specific to this population.

Because children do not yet have the verbal language to express their experience, play allows them to share their feelings, experiences and to learn more adaptive behaviors and coping skills. Play therapy has been found to be an evidence-based practice for anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity, autism spectrum, oppositional defiant and conduct disorders, anger management, crisis and trauma, grief and loss, divorce and family dissolution, academic and social developmental, and physical and learning disabilities, with meta-analytic reviews of over 100 play therapy outcome studies ranging from moderate to high positive effects (Bratton, Ray, Rhine, & Jones, 2005; LeBlanc & Ritchie, 2001; Lin & Bratton, 2015; Ray, Armstrong, Balkin, & Jayne, 2015; Reddy, Files-Hall, & Schaefer, 2005).
After today's workshop, participants will significantly add to their own clinical toolbox, with an understanding of the nuts and bolts of a play therapy session (how long, what to have in your playroom, how to include the family), the theories behind child-centered and directive play therapy sessions as well as exercises to take home and add to their practice.

Workshop Description

The workshop will be a combination of lecture, seminar, discussion and experiential activities. Participants will first be exposed to the theory behind child-centered play therapy versus directive play therapy and the basic theoretical underpinnings of art and expressive arts therapies. After a short lecture period, students will immediately be exposed to hands’-on learning where through dyad and small group work they can practice play and expressive arts techniques with one another. These activities include: therapeutic photography, found poetry, post-card collage, play-eco-maps, worry planes and getting-to-know-you beanbag bingo. Students will walk out of the day with a toolkit of culturally aware activities to utilize with their clients in a variety of settings.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Articulate coherent, evidence-based assessment and intervention strategies, including the differences in theoretical orientation for child-centered play therapy practice versus directive play therapy practice with children, adolescents and families.

  • Identify skills needed to implement evidence-based interventions including strategies to engage in portable play therapy puppet play, therapeutic board-games, sandplay therapy and group play therapy.

  • Articulate understanding of the impact of diversity in the practice of SW with children and adolescents through play, and then translate this into suggested tasks for improving culturally competent practice.

  • Identify strategies to introduce play therapy into various systems of practice including family, school, and communities, which are the systems that most affect child development.

  • Design and execute treatment plans, for utilizing play therapy with children and adolescents.

  • Define how to document, evaluate and bill for play therapy


Elisabeth (Beth) Counselman-Carpenter, LCSW, PhD, is a full-time professor of clinical practice at Columbia School of Social Work, teaching courses on clinical interventions, evaluation, and the application of risk and resilience theories and research to at-risk populations. In addition to her role as educator, she has her own private practice, providing individual, group, and family therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. For more information, please see Professor Counselman-Carpenter's CSSW bio.

Continuing Education Contact Hours Information

6.5 contact hours will be awarded for NYS, NJ and CT licensed social workers. Licensed Social Workers for other states, please refer to your state licensing agency and email swope@columbia.edu. In order to receive your continuing education certificate, you must attend the entire workshop. Certificates will be emailed within 30 days of the workshop. CSSW is an approved NYSED provider for continuing education contact hours and a CSWE accredited institution.

Special Accommodations and Grievance Policy

For information on special accommodations or our grievance policy, click here.

Cancellation policy: Fees will be refunded less a $5.00 processing fee, if written notification is received by the Office of Professional Excellence up to two weeks prior to the workshop date.

For more workshops please visit our website. Click Here

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Columbia School of Social Work

1255 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027

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