How is Synergetic Play Therapy different than other play therapy models? (Not all play therapy is the same!) Synergetic Play Therapists get to the root of the struggle, helping transform the child (and the family) from the inside out. As human beings we are given a marvelous coping mechanism in our biology called the nervous system, which acts like a "honing mechanism," constantly trying to keep us in an optimal state of regulation. When we perceive any form of challenge in our lives, our nervous system gets activated to either rev us up or slow us down--whatever we perceive is necessary to take on the challenge. Every symptom a child struggles with is rooted in an inability for the nervous system to get them back to a state of regulation. When we have an experience that we have labeled as "challenging" in our perceptions, we will attempt to move away from the physical sensations, emotions and thoughts related to that experience. Neurobiology now shows us that in order for integration to occur, we must move towards the physical sensations, emotions and/or thoughts rather than away from them. Synergetic Play Therapists understand the neuroscience behind the transformation process and are able to work with a child (and the family) in such a way that targets:

  • Supporting the child in moving toward the uncomfortable sensations, emotions and thoughts that they might be experiencing. The result is that the child learns how to integrate manage their internal experiences faster.
  • Helping the child feel empowered in his/her physical body, while learning new and more effective ways of expressing emotions that he/she can take with them their whole life.
  • Teaching the child how to stay connected to themselves so that their authentic self emerges and their belief in self increases. The child learns how to communicate effectively and enjoy more fulfilling relationships.

I am new to play therapy- where do I start?  If you are curious about jumping in, we have a few options for you. Take one or more classes; they are infused with neuroscience and synergetic play therapy principles. Or, take our Online Introduction to Synergetic Play Therapy Course. This course is a combination of six 2.5 hour videos and three 1 live webinars with Lisa Dion over the course of six months.  It also includes 30 minutes of individual consultation each month to help you integrate the material. Or, just dive in and take our Six-Day Synergetic Play Therapy Intensive training. Therapists work directly with a child under supervision, while receiving instruction learning how to really embody the work. This is a truly transformational experience for both the therapist and the child.

Should I do the Intro to Synergetic Play Therapy course or the Six-Day Synergetic Play Therapy Intensive?  What's the difference? While the information in each course is very similar, depending on what type of learner you are, your budget and your time availability and geographical location,  you may be drawn to one over the other. The Intro to SPT course allows you to participate from anywhere in the world as it is exclusively online, with live webinar components. It happens over six months for three hours once per month. This format gives students time to integrate the concepts into their work with kids over a longer period of time. The Six-Day Intensives are great for hands-on learners and for therapists that feel ready to just go for it. Therapists who want to work with a child client who (provided by the Institute) while receiving direct supervision, so that they can more quickly integrate the learning will love this course. The Intensives are live at the Play Therapy Institute of Colorado.  Both courses prepare the therapist for going on to do the certification program if they so choose.

What if I’m not a therapist but I work with kids in a different capacity?  Are these classes applicable to my work as a teacher, coach, pediatric physician or nurse, etc?  Yes, absolutely! Many of our students take what they learn in our classes and apply it to other populations.

How do I become a Registered Play Therapist? For details on becoming a Registered Play Therapist, please visit the Association for Play Therapy (APT) Website.