Principles of Play Therapy

Course code:22-JS-001
Dates:July 16-24, 2021 Alternate Course Dates
Meets:F and Sa from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM Eastern, 4 sessions
Instructor:Jan Williamson
Fee: $249.00


In this foundational workshop, you will explore the history of play therapy and compare multiple models of play therapy. You will examine Child-Centered and Cognitive-Behavioral theories as they apply to play therapy. In addition, you will delve into the rationale, philosophy, and history essential to practicing in the field of play therapy.

You will explore how to use play therapy with children in playrooms, how to use available space effectively in creating a therapeutic play space, and how to develop a mobile play therapy kit. You will build the foundational skills needed to use play therapy effectively and leave with the confidence to begin immediately working with clients using play-based interventions.

This workshop is designed to help you:

  1. Describe play therapy and role of a play therapy in interventions and identify play therapists' characteristics;
  2. Discuss the history of play therapy, its foundations, and describe and use two historically significant theories to the field of play therapy recognized by the Association for Play Therapy;
  3. Discuss the basics of, the difference between, and rationale for using non-directive and directive approaches;
  4. Explain prescriptive and integrated play therapy approaches;
  5. Describe the rationale for selecting therapeutic toys and be able to communicate how to organize and care for a professional playroom;
  6. Communicate with parents about why we use play therapy, explain how we collaborate with parents for the best outcomes, and describe how children progress in play therapy;
  7. Set and enforce limits in an effective and therapeutic way; and
  8. Identify the stages of play therapy, ethical and cultural issues, and demonstrate how to terminate play therapy appropriately.


Instructor: Jan Williamson, LCSW, RPT-S
Jan Williamson serves as the lead instructor with the VCU Play Therapy program. She is also the clinical supervisor and a mental health clinician providing trauma-informed mental health services for the non-profit agency, ChildSavers in Richmond. Previously she worked for the Child Advocacy Center and has also been an adjunct professor for the VCU Graduate School of Social Work. She has a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology and a Master's in Clinical Social Work. First licensed as a family therapist, she has over 40 years of experience in the mental health field working with families, adults and children. Jan worked internationally with refugee children and families in Southeast Asia and in Africa in areas of armed conflict and mass displacement.
Jan is a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor and a past member of the board of the Virginia Association for Play Therapy. Jan's areas of expertise also include work with sand trays.
This real-time telehealth format session will be held online via the Zoom platform. VCU OCPE will provide you with a link where you can connect through your PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android device. The Association for Play Therapy (APT) has approved this VCU event for 16 contact continuing education hours.
Our Zoom sessions are in real-time and offer an opportunity to interact with the instructor and other participants. There will be a one hour break per day. These sessions may include the following: didactics, discussions, videos, activities/exercises, practice/demonstrations of skills, and role plays/observations. Your instructor will send you a list of creative materials to have on-hand during the session.
You are required to have your camera on during these sessions to allow for verified engagement. In addition, you are required to pass a multiple-choice post-test in order to receive Association for Play Therapy credit for your participation.
Questions? Should you have any questions about the workshop, please contact Jennifer Sisane at or (804) 828-1322.
Cancellation and Refund Policies:
You may cancel your registration up until July 5, 2021, and receive a full refund minus a $35 credit card processing fee. After that date, no refunds will be given. Cancellations must be received via email at
In the unlikely event that this workshop is cancelled or postponed due to insufficient enrollments or unforeseen circumstances, the university will fully refund registration fees, but cannot be held responsible for any other expenses, including change or cancellation charges to include but not limited to airlines, hotels, travel agencies, or other organizations.

Transfer Policy:
Workshop registrations may be transferred to a different workshop or person if requested in writing via email at by the cancellation deadline. The participant must meet all prerequisites or qualifications required by the program.
Student/Participant Conduct:
All course and event participants are bound by all policies found at including:
VCU Honor System
VCU Code of Conduct
Sexual Misconduct/Assault/Harrassment and Sex/Gender Discrimination
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