November 2010 Therapist Spotlight -- Denise Filley: Let’s Talk Play Therapy

Denise FilleyDenise Filley

November 2010 Therapist Spotlight - Denise Filley: Let’s Talk Play Therapy

How did you get involved in Play Therapy?

I was working with young children in private practice and started to use toys with them as it worked best, then found out there was a whole realm called play therapy. I went to a training, fell more in love with it and never looked back!

Tell me a little about the KC certificate program in play therapy... what all does it entail?

It is a 10 month program that allows practitioners or grad students to be thoroughly trained in play therapy. Our program meets the national standards for becoming a Registered Play Therapist with the Association for Play Therapy. It includes both instructional training and play therapy supervision. Students can attend either Monday night classes or a once-a-month weekend class. We currently offer our program in KC, Omaha, St. Louis and starting next year in Wichita and online.

What are some ways play therapy may need to be adapted for use in providing therapy in the home?

The main adaptation is just to space. You may have to plan to do techniques in smaller spaces or to include more people. All play therapy can be adapted developmentally with no problem.

Are there any contradictions for use of play therapy with home-based family therapy (HBFT)? If so, what are they?

I don’t see any at all, as long as the clinician is training thoroughly in play therapy.

What advice would you give people first starting out in play therapy?

Be creative and flexible. Start by finding your theory approach and the play therapy will fall into place easily.

What advice would you give people who are advanced play therapists?

Never stop learning. Attend national conferences and local ones, too, to keep your skills up to date and to keep up with current evidence based treatments.

What are some new play therapy techniques being developed now?

Right now the push is for evidence based treatment, so there is a huge correlation between CBT and play therapy being developed as well as work with attachment and Autism spectrum clients.

Are you working on any new play therapy techniques... If so, what are they?

Yes, always! But I don’t like to divulge until I “reveal” them...many of mine have to do with attachment and CBT based work. Come to a workshop and find out!

What techniques do you find are most used in play therapy?

There is no one answer; it depends on your theory approach. For HBFT I would think that either attachment focused work or developmentally adjusted techniques would be most important.

What are your favorite techniques to use?

I really like Theraplay for attachment work and it is easy to do in home and to teach to parents/caregivers. I also enjoy some directive work that is adaptable developmentally.

Is there anything else you feel may be important to know for people wishing to learn more about play therapy?

It is important to be thoroughly trained. One or two workshops do not make one ethically trained to do play therapy.

What would be the top 5 play therapy books you would recommend?

  • Childs First Book about Play Therapy
  • Dibs In Search of Self
  • The Art of the Relationship
  • -Reaching Children through Play Therapy
  • Theraplay

What would be the top 5 play therapy links you would recommend?

What play therapy resources would best address use of play therapy in HBFT?

  • Theraplay (Jernberg)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy (Drewes)
  • Family Play Therapy (Gil)