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  • Birth-5 Clinician Advanced Training
     November 5, 2020 - November 6, 2020
     9:00 am - 5:30 pm

This clinician training is an intermediate/advanced level two-day workshop for master’s level therapists working with the Birth to Five population in the foster care system.  It is appropriate for licensed and pre-licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.  


Children who have experienced complex developmental trauma often present with unusual behaviors- both in and out of the play therapy room.  This workshop will help play therapists feel comfortable leaning into nervous system dysregulation, reframing misbehavior as opportunities to soothe the limbic system through “bottom up” body-based play therapy techniques involving movement, rhythm, and sensory play.

This innovative training will guide the attendees through the most current neuroscience research (including Bruce Perry, MD, Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Stephen Porges, MD, Peter Levine, PhD, and Daniel Siegel, MD) and demonstrate how to put theory into practice.  Examples of creative ways to use movement, rhythm and sensory play in play therapy to shift the child’s emotional state, maintain regulation, and renegotiate traumatic associations without overwhelming the client will be explained and demonstrated. Participants will learn a framework (based on the Alert Program and Zones of Regulation) to help children develop the capacity to monitor (notice) and modify (change) their state of regulation or dysregulation.

This training will include didactic and experiential learning; participants should dress comfortably and be prepared to move and play.  Activities will allow the participants to experience ways to incorporate music and movement into the play therapy process with children. Attendees will leave this training with practical tools, strategies and applications that enhance the client’s capacity to connect with others, process trauma without becoming overwhelmed, and facilitate healing.

Intentionally engaging the body through movement, rhythm, and sensory play provides valuable practice coming back into a regulated state from a dysregulated state, deepens connection and attunement between therapist and client, models for the parent how to help their child through dysregulation, brings high level brain functions back online, and enhances learning.  Movement, rhythm, and sensory play also provides clients another medium to express their inner experience while connected to a regulated, attuned therapist, allowing for integration and a renegotiation of implicitly held trauma. Attendees will be able to use movement, rhythm, and sensory play in play therapy in a purposeful way that leads to more enjoyment in their play therapy sessions and works toward therapist goals of improved regulation and ultimately trauma healing.


  1. Attendees will be able to explain the importance of working through a client’s dysregulation in the play therapy room with connection and attunement instead of limits and consequences.

  2. Attendees will be able to define sensory integration and understand how this relates to regulation.

  3. Attendees will demonstrate how to incorporate movement, rhythm, and sensory play into their play therapy process to help their client become more regulated in and out of session.

  4. Attendees will demonstrate how to help clients expand their skills in noticing, tracking, and tolerating sensation.

  5. Attendees will be able to apply a system to teach children through play therapy to monitor (notice) and modify (change) their inner state.  

  6. Attendees will be able to create play therapy treatment plans based on viewing challenging behavior as dysregulation of the nervous system as opposed to misbehavior.

  7. Attendees will identify ways to approach play therapy assessment and treatment planning through a developmental,  neurosequential approach.

  8. Attendees will be able to demonstrate ways to invite the hypo- and hyper-aroused nervous system back into the window of tolerance using movement, rhythm, and sensory play in the play therapy room.

  9. Attendees will assess how the person-of-the-therapist impacts utilizing body-based play therapy techniques, such as movement, rhythm, and sensory play.  

  10. Attendees will demonstrate the ability track play therapy themes that are expressed through movement, rhythm, and sensory play.

  11. Attendees will be able to identify why it is important to engage parents through parent coaching and/or family play therapy sessions. 

Workshop Attendees will receive a Google Folder FULL of resources, including:

  • Flip book (PDF) of all the movement and music activities we learn and practice in the workshop (and more!!!).  Developed by Robyn Gobbel, LCSW, RPT-S

  • Flip book (PDF) with clear instructions for all the games used to teach a system to monitor and modify states of arousal.  Developed by Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

  • A Trauma Informed Approach to Behaviors in the Classroom- 10 page letter-to-the-teacher (PDF) 

  • Resource list of commonly used movement and music based props and products

  • Adjunct and optional reading

Participants from previous workshops reported that the Flip Books (created by Robyn Gobbel, LCSW, LMSW, RPT-S) were an extremely valuable resource.


Course Pre-Work

When you register for this course, you’ll receive a link to a pre-recorded webinar “A NeuroDevelopmental Approach to Treating Complex Trauma.”  It is HIGHLY recommended that you watch 45 minutes of this 80 minute webinar (you’ll receive instructions on where to start and stop). Watching this pre-recorded webinar will allow us to move more quickly through the theory so we can spend more time on the application in the two-day workshop. No additional CEs will be awarded for this pre-work.