Play therapy conference to address victims of child abuse

Play therapy can play a vital role in the successful treatment of victims of child sexual abuse.

To provide counselors and play therapists with the tools they need, the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas will host a fall conference aimed at helping children heal.

"Our goal is to make the world a safer place for children and to better train the professionals who help them," said Sue Bratton, the center's director. "We also want to raise awareness, which will help all of us provide social and emotional support to children in distress."

The conference, which is Nov. 1 at UNT's Gateway Center, will feature speaker Dr. Linda Homeyer, a renowned play therapy expert and professor of professional counseling at Texas State University.

Homeyer is the 2013 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Play Therapy and author of several noted books on play therapy.

Conference participants will explore the dynamics of child sexual abuse and its impact on children, how to integrate family work and play therapy to achieve optimal success and the impact of trauma and child maltreatment on the developing brain. They also will work to understand the multiple roles the play therapist assumes in complex abuse cases.

Attendees will include counselors in private practice, social workers, students in training and school counselors.

Housed in UNT's College of Education, the Center for Play Therapy encourages the unique development and emotional growth of children through play therapy. The center provides training, research, publications and counseling, among other services.

-UNT News Service