We recently highlighted Janet Nordine, MS, LMFT, a valued team member at Healthy Minds. Well, we’re highlighting Janet again because she just became a Registered Play Therapist, certified by the Association for Play Therapy (APT).
Janet also became a Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI) practitioner, one of only four others in Las Vegas!
What is Play Therapy?
The APT defines Play Therapy as:
“the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained Play Therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”
The APT also notes that: “Play Therapy should only be provided by mental health professionals who have met the required education, licensure, and additional specialized training and supervision specific to Play Therapy.”
How does Play Therapy work?
You might have noticed that children love to play. They also express and explore their emotions and feelings through play.
A child experiencing anger, loss, or sadness is likely to be drawn to different toys and interact with those toys differently than a child who is happy.
As Janet says:
“Unlike traditional therapy, with Play Therapy the child drives the process and the therapist gets a window into what the child is thinking. Children communicate through play whereas adults communicate through words. Every emotion expressed by a child during play has a message.
Through the process, the child learns when they act out, they’re not ‘being bad.’ They’re using their emotion as a message since they don’t yet have the language to express themselves. The therapist can then learn to recognize the child’s emotions and ask themselves: ‘How can I learn from this?’ ‘What can I do with it?’, and be able to help the child understand themselves better.”
Why did Janet Nordine become a Registered Play Therapist?
When Janet was a brand new therapist intern 11 years ago, she went to the 2009 The Evolution of Psychotherapy conference (the world’s largest psychotherapist conference). One of the conference’s presenters was the internationally renown child and adolescent therapist, Violet Solomon Oaklander, an early pioneer and advocate of Play Therapy.
Janet was mesmerized by Oaklander’s presentation, What Brings Children Into Therapy: A Developmental View. “I want to be as cool as her,” she said to herself. That experience helped set her on her current career track.
Many years later when Janet began doing credentialing with the Association of Play Therapy, she looked for a nearby organization that could help her complete the training requirements. She found The West Coast Institute, and was delighted to learn that their Gestalt Therapy training utilized the “Oaklander approach,” named after Violet Solomon Oaklander. (Oaklander is the therapist who’d originally inspired Janet to pursue play therapy in a conference speech years prior.)
What’s required to become a Registered Play Therapist?
Becoming a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) isn’t easy. The requirements?
- 2000 hours of supervised mental health experience;
- 500 direct client contact hours;
- 150 additional hours of Play Therapy specific instruction APT Approved Providers (in Janet’s case, this included travel to several out of state trainings);
- 50 additional hours of supervision.
You can see why there are only a small handful of Registered Play Therapists in Las Vegas!
For Janet, play therapy has dramatically changed her approach to therapy with the children she serves.
“It’s helped me understand children’s behavior so much more, what trauma does, and how children express it,” she says. “It’s also helping improve patient outcomes and improve the children’s attachment to caregivers.”
Every time Janet or another Healthy Minds team member goes to a conference to learn new and helpful therapy approaches, they’re given time to share (with the rest of our staff) what they learned and how to integrate the new information into our care approach. The goal: by continually learning and improving all aspects of our patient care approach, we’ll continue to be an industry leader in patient outcomes — and be better than we were yesterday.
We encourage other Healthy Minds’ therapists to consider becoming Registered Play Therapists as well. Thanks Janet, for your dedication to continual learning and providing exceptional patient care!
Additional notes and accolades: