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An Interview with Liana Lowenstein, MSW, on Play Therapy

David Van Nuys, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 14th 2011

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Liana Lowenstein, MSWAdult-oriented psychotherapy is talk-focused, making it inappropriate for children who are for developmental reasons less able or inclined to be able to talk about emotional difficulties. Play therapy involves a therapists systematic use of structured games and play activities to bond with, assess and treat children's psychosocial issues. Play activities allow children to approach their issues indirectly and (often) in a physical, primarily non-verbal manner. Play activities are orchestrated by the therapist according to one or more clinical play therapy models (e.g., this is not simply play but instead real therapy). Lowenstein describes several named therapeutic play activities variously designed to elicit discussion of feelings, elicit a ranked list of worries, or to enable children to act out their issues using the sand-tray or dollhouses. The entire family is frequently included in therapy so as to assess family dynamics that may be interfering with healing (such as when children feel the need to protect their parents), and to help parents become more aware of children's issues so that they can act on the information to alter their behavior.

David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by Mentalhelp.net, covering topics in mental health, wellness, and psychotherapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys. I'm a clinical psychologist and your host.

On today's show, we'll be talking with Canadian therapist Liana Lowenstein about play therapy. Liana Lowenstein, MSW, is a registered social worker and certified child psychotherapist. She's also a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and child and family therapist working in the mental health field since 1988. As an approved certified supervisor with the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy, she provides clinical supervision and consultation to mental health practitioners.

She has authored numerous publications, including the highly acclaimed books Paper Dolls and Paper Airplanes: Therapeutic Exercises for Sexually Traumatized Children, Creative Interventions for Troubled Children and Youth, Creative Interventions for Children of Divorce, and Creative Interventions for Bereaved Children. She also edited Volumes 1 and 2 of Assessment and Treatment Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Techniques. Volume 3 will be launched in 2011. Her latest publication is Creative Family Therapy Techniques: Play, Art, and Expressive Activities to Engage Children in Family Sessions. Liana is known for her dynamic and entertaining teaching style. She is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and at agency training events across North America and abroad.

Now, here's the interview.

Liana Lowenstein, welcome to Wise Counsel.

Liana Lowenstein: Thank you.

David: I am so happy to meet you and have you on the show. As you know, I was originally contacted by a former guest for my other podcast series and longtime listener Sarah Zeldman, who is very impressed by your work, and she insisted that you should be on the show. So after some long time, here you are.

Liana Lowenstein: Well, I'm very pleased to be participating in this.

David: Okay, well, tell us a bit about your background. I see that you have an MSW degree, so what drew you to social work? Where did you go to school and what drew you to social work?

Liana Lowenstein: Well, I was really always interested in the helping profession, even from a very young age. My father reminds me that when I was seven years old, he was giving me my allowance, and then I asked him if we could use it to open up an orphanage.

David: Wow.

Liana Lowenstein: So I was really always interested in helping others, particularly children, and started volunteering at the Montreal Children's Hospital, where I grew up, when I was 14. So from a fairly young age I really gravitated to helping children, and I pursued an undergraduate degree in social work through the University of Western Ontario. Then I moved to Toronto and worked for a few years in a number of children's mental health settings, and then I pursued my graduate degree in social work.

And at the same time, I was really focused on working with kids and really wanted to get trained in play therapy, and so through the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy, I became certified as a child psychotherapist. So that's my educational background.

David: Yeah, great. And on your website I see that you're a prolific writer and presenter, and as you say, your work at this point focuses mostly on families and especially children, and so you've said that play therapy is a big part of your practice, so let's start basic. What is play therapy? And perhaps you could give us an example as well.

Liana Lowenstein: Okay. Maybe I could begin by talking about one of my first child clients to really help the audience understand a little bit more about what play therapy is and what led me to use this in my work.

David: Good idea.

Liana Lowenstein: Okay, good. So Adam was one of my first child clients. He was a nine-year-old boy, and his father was tragically killed by a drunk driver. And his father was a professional photographer, and on the day of the accident, he was on his way out of the house to go and be a photographer at somebody's wedding, and on his way out of the house, he tripped on Adam's shoes that Adam had left out in the hallway, and the two of them got into an argument about the shoes, and then his father stormed out of the house, and as he stormed out of the house, Adam called out after him, "I hate you. I wish you were dead."

David: Oh, boy.

Liana Lowenstein: And so on his way to the wedding, his father was driving on the highway and he was struck by an oncoming truck. The other driver was drunk and Adam's father was killed. So, as you can imagine, Adam felt horribly guilty for his father's death, and as a result of his grief, his intense feelings of guilt, and strong emotions of loss, he started to develop some difficulties at school and at home, and his mom and his teachers became increasingly concerned about him, and so he was brought to me for therapy.

Now, if I had sat Adam down in my office and said to him, "So, Adam, tell me about how your feeling about your father's death," I probably would have gotten, "I don't know," or… I wouldn't have gotten very far because children, unlike adults, really don't respond very well to traditional talk therapy. Very young children, because of their developmental abilities, don't have the language to express themselves verbally, and then older children - even if they have the verbal skills to verbalize their thoughts and their feelings - often feel very threatened to talk directly and openly about difficult and painful experiences. And so play is often used with children to help them express themselves.

So, getting back to your question, "What is play therapy?" So, play therapy is a way of working whereby a trained therapist, trained in a theoretical model, uses the therapeutic powers of play to help the client work through psychosocial difficulties. And if I can quote Plato, Plato actually said, "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." And I really think that this is true.

David: Yes, it always amazes me how there's always a precedent among the Greeks for just about anything.

Liana Lowenstein: Yes, it's true.

David: Now, I'm not sure. Did you say how old Adam was?

Liana Lowenstein: Adam was nine.

David: Okay, and so how -? Maybe you could - you got us interested in Adam now. What happened? What did you do with him and how did it turn out?

Liana Lowenstein: Well, let me tell you a little bit about how I worked with him to help you understand what play therapy is and how it was used to help Adam. And then a little bit later on I can talk about some other key examples. So, just like in adult therapies, there are a lot of different ways to do therapy, a lot of different theoretical approaches. Even in child therapy, in play therapy, there are many different theoretical models of play therapy. I'm trained in a variety of different theoretical models, so I'm an eclectic play therapist. And so a lot of the adult models are used by play therapists where we integrate play into the model. So a therapist let's say using cognitive-behavioral therapy with an adult, we, as play therapists, have developed cognitive-behavioral play therapy where we integrate play into the model.

David: Oh, fascinating.

Liana Lowenstein: So with Adam, so we take the adult models and then we make them play-based in order to help children express their thoughts and their feelings. So with Adam, first of all, just like in adult therapy it is absolutely critical to develop a therapeutic relationship and to create a sense of safety in the therapy. With children it's equally important. In fact, it's really - it forms the crux of effective work.

David: Sure.

Liana Lowenstein: You need to develop a rapport with the child, and so I use play and play-based activities to engage the child and to develop that rapport. So some examples of some play therapy interventions that I use to help develop that therapeutic relationship - one activity I call Feelings tic-tac-toe. So it's like tic-tac-toe, but the game board has feeling faces - a variety of feeling faces - and instead of using Xs and Os, I use two different kinds of small, wrapped candy, and myself and the child play against each other, trying to get a straight or diagonal line of three. And as we put our candy down on the tic-tac-toe game board, on one of the feeling faces, we tell about a time we felt the particular feeling on the game board.

So it's a way to lower the level of [unclear], to engage the child, activate the child's interest, and to help the child begin to verbalize the feelings. And so with Adam, he was quite shut down initially. He didn't really want to talk much about his sadness and guilt and other feelings of grief. But through this game, he eventually began to open up and did begin to talk more and more about his feelings.

And I also use a number of play therapy activities to assess him because, just like we do with adults, we need to assess the client in order to develop a treatment plan and to work effectively with the client. So an example of a play therapy assessment activity that I used with Adam called Butterflies in My Stomach, where I gave him a number of different sizes of paper cut-out butterflies, and I asked him to write his worries on the paper butterflies - his bigger worries on the bigger butterflies, and his smaller worries on the smaller butterflies.

And so some of the worries that he expressed: his biggest worry was that his mother was going to die, too.

David: Oh, wow. It's great that that came out.

Liana Lowenstein: Exactly, exactly. And that's why play therapy is so effective, because it really does help to engage the child and help him to express himself. And we know that many children who are dealing with the death of one parent, one of their biggest fears oftentimes is that the other parent will leave them too, and that certainly came out with Adam. And I think it was very cathartic for him to be able to express that feeling.

Another worry that he had that he identified through this activity was that the driver who killed his father would not go to jail, and then he would get drunk again and kill other people. So he was very preoccupied with that. He also worried that he would get suspended from school because, since his father's death, he was acting out quite a lot at school because often kids who aren't able to say how bad they feel act it out through their behavior, and so he was getting into some trouble at school.

And that was very important for me to know because then I could talk with his mother and his teacher about how he was feeling and about why he was acting out at school, and help his teacher in particular perhaps be a little bit more sensitive to what he was feeling and some strategies to deal with his behavior at school. So those are a couple of examples of some play therapy activities that I used with Adam to engage him and to begin an assessment.

David: Now, you talked about different kinds or different models of play therapy, and it sounds like - well, you said you're eclectic. You did mention the cognitive-behavioral orientation. I would guess that another would be psychodynamic or a kind of Freudian approach. Are there others beyond those?

Liana Lowenstein: Yes, psychoanalytic.

David: Okay.

Liana Lowenstein: Many. There are many, many different approaches. So there's psychotherapy, where the [unclear] principles in analytic I don't [unclear] use, but again that is used with children. Like Adlerian therapy with adults, there's Adlerian play therapy. There's Gestalt play therapy, so there are lots of ways to do play therapy. Some therapists are purists, trained in one particular modality. Some are more eclectic.

David: Okay. The sound is getting a little flakey here on my Skype calls, so I just want to repeat that you said Adlerian and Gestalt as two examples. What about sandtray? Do you use that?

Liana Lowenstein: Yes. Sandtray is one of my favorite techniques. We play therapy [unclear] back [unclear] the different [unclear] that we all use in play therapy. So some examples of play therapy [unclear], therapy to games, art activities, [unclear], stories, and sandtray. And sandtray is a play therapy technique that is so, so powerful. It's the use of miniature objects that the child places in a sandbox, and they use these miniature objects to, again, express themselves.

David: How did you use sandtray with Adam?

Liana Lowenstein: So with Adam, I remember one of our earlier sessions I asked him to create his world in the sand using a variety of miniature objects that I have. And so he first chose a figure of a boy. The boy is tangled up in string and has a very pained expression on his face. And he placed that in the middle of the sandbox, and then he chose some army figures and put them in a corner, and he chose a coffin and he put a skeleton inside the coffin, and he - I have this - it's like a plastic - it looks like a pond. So he took the pond and he put in the sandbox and put some sand around it, and then he picked up this pained boy, this boy figure, and put it inside this pond. And then he added some water to that. And then he took a few animals. He chose a dog and a shark. And the shark was facing towards this boy in the water, and the dog was kind of off on the side.

And then I asked him to tell me about this world that he had created, and he talked about this person drowning in the water and the shark that is nearby, and the boy's trying to swim away from the shark. And he's swimming really, really hard, and he can't seem to get away, and he's worried that the shark's going to get him. And then he pointed towards the coffin and said, "And that's, you know, my dad." And he didn't really want to go any further, but he sort of made reference to his father in the coffin. And then he spoke about this battle scene in one of the corners of the sandbox and said, "This is all the bad stuff. All the [unclear] and the killings, and a lot of people dying. And my dog is here, and my dog - when I'm sad, sometimes I play with my dog and that helps me to feel better."

So this was the scene that he created in the sand. And, again, it's a modality of play therapy that uses the powers of play to help the child express their inner conflicts.

David: Do you find that expressing those feelings through play therapy is sufficiently therapeutic in itself? Or is it necessary for you to go beyond that with some kinds of interpretations or other work?

Liana Lowenstein: Well, certainly just the child's using the play to express themselves is very therapeutic, but of course it's what the therapist does with the play that makes play therapy. So [unclear] the child play, making facilitative responses - and there are different kinds of facilitative responses that are made to help the child gain insight and to address certain psychosocial issues.

David: What would be an example of a facilitative response, for instance?

Liana Lowenstein: Well, so for example, tracking the child's play. So if the child is, let's say, enacting a battle scene, the therapist might say, "Wow. They're really attacking each other," and "Oh, there's a lot of people dying," and try to, first of all, track the scenes that emerge in the child's play, and then try to feed back to the child by making verbal statements about what the child is doing. Giving words to what the child is doing is therapeutically beneficial.

David: Okay.

Liana Lowenstein: Another example of a facilitative response might be a child who has really poor self-esteem. The therapist might make a facilitative response that helps to elevate the child's self-esteem. So let's say the child draws a picture, and so the therapist might say, "You worked really hard on that. You look like you're really proud of what you created."

David: Okay. Good example.

Liana Lowenstein: Just to give some examples of response.

David: Yeah, good example. Now, do you also use therapy in family work? I know sometimes you work with the whole family.

Liana Lowenstein: Absolutely. I very much believe that working just with the child in isolation is not adequate, that we need to involve the family whenever possible. And family play therapy is just I think so beneficial because it allows everyone to participate regardless of age. It allows the whole family to come together in a common pleasurable task. And so I'll give you an example with Adam and his family.

So Adam had an older brother who was 12; so Adam was 9, his brother was 12. And so I had the family come in and one of the activities that I did with them, one of the play therapy activities, was a therapeutic game called A Penny for Your Thoughts. And so there's a big game board with different questions that are directed to helping the family talk about memories of the person who has died, and the family members take turns tossing the penny onto the game board, so it's called A Penny for Your Thoughts. And where the penny lands, they answer the question, and the questions are all about memories.

So, for example, a question might be "tell about a happy memory you have about the person who died." Or another example of one of the questions on the game board might be "tell about a time your loved one made you laugh." So those are some examples. And so the game was used, again, to help all the family members commemorate Dad, to help them talk openly and directly with each other about their memories and about their feelings, which with grieving families is so important, because often when a family member dies, the family shuts down and has a lot of difficulty talking openly and directly about the person who has died.

And often children are very protective of their parents, and Adam especially was very cognizant that his mother was also grieving and was often seen crying, and so Adam was very reticent to - you know he didn't want to talk about his dad with his mother because he was worried that he would make his mother more upset. And so it was really important in family sessions to help the family be able to talk about Dad and about their feelings and for them to support each other through their grief.

David: It sounds like there's room for a lot of creativity. I've been impressed by how creative some of these activities are. Have you created some of these activities yourself?

Liana Lowenstein: Well, these are all activities that I have created that I'm talking about.

David: Oh, boy.

Liana Lowenstein: But there are many, many play therapy books out there that contain innovative activities to use with children. I also, though - I mentioned earlier than I'm an eclectic therapist, and so in my sessions with children, I combine what's called directive play therapy with non-directive or child-centered play therapy. So in the first half of my session with the child, I'm very directive, and some of the interventions that I talked about are examples of things that I would use in that directive part of the session. But then in the second half of the session, I use a non-directive or child-centered approach, where the child then gets to direct the play.

They get to play with what they want in the playroom, and the toys that are in the playroom are selected specifically because of their therapeutic benefits, and then the therapist role becomes to observe the child's play, to observe themes in the child's play. And so, combining directive and non-directive play therapy methods allows the therapist to lead the child in directions that are seen as beneficial in the directive component of the play, and then shift to a non-directive modality so that the child can then work through issues on their own, at their own pace, and then express those issues through the themes that come out in their play.

David: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me. Now, grief, divorce, and bullying I know are three areas that you've worked in. And with your case of Adam, I think we've pretty well covered grief, so maybe we could focus on divorce and bullying.

Liana Lowenstein: Okay.

David: So, what about divorce? I imagine in some ways that might be a variant of grief, but maybe there are other sorts of issues as well. How do you use play therapy in working with divorce issues with children?

Liana Lowenstein: Okay. Well, first, just as I mentioned with Adam, with any case just developing a relationship, creating an atmosphere of safety is key regardless of the presenting issue and regardless of the child. It's absolutely critical to develop a rapport and to conduct an assessment. And so example of an assessment activity I might use with a child who's dealing with separation and divorce - I might have the child draw a picture of you and your mom doing something together, and draw a picture of you and your dad doing something together, and then to talk about those two pictures as a way to assess the child's relationship with each of his parents.

Another example of using play to assess the child: I have two dollhouses in my playroom - which is critical if you're working with children dealing with separation and divorce, to have two different dollhouses - and I might have the child create a story using the two dollhouses. So those are some examples of assessment activities.

And then an example of a treatment intervention child of divorce: one child, a boy Brian who was 11, his parents separated when he was 10, so about a year earlier from when I saw him. And they were engaged in a fairly bitter custody dispute, and there was a lot of fighting going on, and Brian very much felt caught in the middle of this fighting and really struggling with loyalty. And really what he wanted was just to have a positive relationship with both his parents, but he was really feeling very much caught in the middle and feeling pressured to take sides. So those are some of the issues that came out in my assessment of him.

And so I decided to use - but both parents, regardless of their high degree of conflict, very much loved their son and wanted the best for him, and they were motivated to bring him for therapy and to participate. And I decided to use an intervention that was developed by a colleague of mine that's written up in one of my books, and it's called Building a Better World for Our Child, a technique developed by Theresa Fraser, and it's a sandtray technique.

And so there are three different components to the activity. The first, the child is asked to create a world, his world in the sandbox. And so in Brian's creation of his world, he chose a variety of different animals, and they were all aggressive type animals; so lions and tigers, and so on - bears and more aggressive type animals. And he had them facing each other and talked about how these animals were attacking each other, that they were always fighting and attacking each other. And there were other parts of his world in the sandbox, but that was kind of the main - the central area of his world was around animals that were attacking each other.

And then when I asked him to describe his scene that he'd created in the sand, he said, "The animals are fighting. They've been fighting forever, and they [unclear] stop fighting. Very bloody. And it's just a lot of fighting going on." So clearly he was using the sandtray as a way to express the conflicts that he was exposed to in his family.

And so the second part of the activity, you take a picture of the child's world, and then you have the parents come in the following week, the following session, and you show them the child's world, and you have them pick two of the figures that were in the child's world. And then together, both parents both together, which these parents were able to do -- even though they were certainly in the high level of conflict, they were able to come in and meet with me and work together. So I asked them to, together, pick two of the figures that were in their son's world, Brian's world, and to use those as a starting point to create a better world for their son.

So I asked them to create their own world, to work together to create the kind of world that they think would be ideal for their son. So I asked them to think about what kind of relationships you have him to have; what kind of family life you want him to have; what else do you want to be in this world, and show that in the sand. And it was really just very fascinating.

David: Yeah, that's a fascinating activity.

Liana Lowenstein: Yes, and they were able to really come together and work together to create this. And then you have a dialog with them about this and what they each need to do in order to create this better world. And then the final part of the activity is to have them write a letter to their son, that they read in the third session, about the kind of world that they want. And it was very, very powerful and I think it really helped the parents to, first, gain insight into how their conflict was impacting their son and how - if they didn't stop - that was going to lead their son down a very negative path, and how they really didn't want that for him and wanted to really work on trying to create a more positive future for him. So, very, very powerful, and I think it really highlights the power of play.

David: Well, let's talk about bullying. Bullying is an issue that has really been receiving a lot of media and government attention here in the U.S. lately. Is that true in Canada as well?

Liana Lowenstein: Yes. Yes, it is. I think bullying is an issue that unfortunately is widespread, and thankfully I think there are a lot of good anti-bullying programs that are being initiated by school boards, and this is another example of how play can be used to address the issue of bullying. And I think that there are a lot of school counselors, in particular, who go into schools who are trained in play therapy to use play in groups with children in the school setting or certainly in an individual therapy setting.

So I'll give another example of how I've used play. So Ryan's seven years old, and he was referred to me because he was being bullied at school, teased. He also had self-esteem issues. He was quite overweight; he had a learning disability; he was getting teased by his peers at school, also by some of the kids in his neighborhood. They would often call him - tease him because of his weight, tease him because he was struggling at school because of his learning disability.

And so I used a couple of different play therapy techniques with him: bibliotherapy and then the use of puppets. Because of his age and also because of his learning disability, he had greater difficulty writing or talking directly, so the use of the puppets and the use of stories seemed to be a more concrete way to work with him that he was more receptive to.

So I used a story called "How to Handle Bullies, Teasers, and Other Meanies." It's a story book. And it was a way to help him understand some of the dynamics involved in bullying, and the book teaches some strategies that children can use to deal with bullying and with teasing. But if you just read the story to the child and then that's it, often children don't integrate the strategies. And so I used puppets and we came up with some different bullying, teasing kinds of scenarios, and we acted them out with puppets. So he would use the puppets to act out the bullying scene and then practice some of strategies that he learned through the book to handle bullying.

And that was very effective with him. He really enjoyed using the puppets and helping some of the scenarios come alive, and it gave him the confidence through role playing with puppets in the session to then be able to use some of these strategies at school and in his neighborhood when he was being teased or bullied.

David: Well, that's another great example that you've given us. What if some of our listeners decide that they'd like to learn play therapy? I know some students in training and also of some therapists, as well as sort of consumers of therapeutic services listen to this podcast. How might someone get trained in play therapy?

Liana Lowenstein: Well, each country has a play therapy association. I know some of your listeners are international listeners, so in Canada we have the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy. In the United States there's the Association for Play Therapy. In the UK there's the British Association for Play Therapy, and these are all organizations that offer training programs, clinical supervision, and so on, where somebody could get trained and certified or registered to conduct play therapy.

Certainly it's really, really important to seek training if you're going to use play in sessions. I get a little concerned sometimes when people hear a podcast or go to a training and get real excited about play therapy and kind of then just go and try to play with kids in a session and think that they're doing play therapy. It really does require, like any other theoretical approach, specific training and clinical guidance. So there are associations out there that do offer really good clinical training in play therapy.

David: Well, that sounds like a good caution. Now, I know you've written a number of books, and I will be putting a link to your website on our site. How can someone go about purchasing your books?

Liana Lowenstein: Well, they can do so directly on my website. My books are also on the major online bookstores like Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and so on. And for international orders, I have a book distributor abroad, so people can order my books. On my website, there's a link to Gazelle Book Distributors. They're really anywhere people can order my books.

There are also a number of free resources on my website, because I really have designed my website to be a hub for professionals as well as parents to come to and to access resources. So there is an article library for parents, as well as an article library for professionals on various topics related to children, as well as a free eBook for professionals containing assessment and treatment activities. So people who have some training in play therapy can access these articles, and there are also some articles for people who don't have specific training in play therapy but are just interested in reading different topics. So those are available.

David: Yes, that's wonderful. Your website is very generous with information and certainly you've been very generous in this interview and tolerant of the difficulties that we've had with Skype today. Liana Lowenstein, I want to thank you for being my guest on Wise Counsel.

Liana Lowenstein: Well, thank you. I was very pleased to be invited to participate in this, and I hope it's been helpful.

David: I hope you enjoyed this conversation with child and family therapist Liana Lowenstein. I know there were some rough spots in the audio, and I thank you for your kind forbearance and hanging in there. You got this far. As you may already know, I use Skype on my end of the conversation, which allows me to capture a stereo digital recording which I can then edit one track or the other. Sometimes Skype is a little flakey, though, and actually I had to break off and resume with Liana several times during this interview. So I'm especially appreciative of her patience during that process.

Her website is a particularly rich source of information about play therapy and other topics. The URL is www.lianalowenstein.com. Perhaps you were as impressed as I was by the creative exercises she's developed in her work with children and families. If you look at her speaking schedule on her website, you'll see that it was no exaggeration that she does frequent trainings across North America and elsewhere, so I'm pleased that we were able to get this glimpse into her work.

You've been listening to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by Mentalhelp.net. If you found today's show interesting, we encourage you to visit Mentalhelp.net, where you can add a comment or question to this show's web page, view other shows in the series, or simply page through the site, which is full of interesting mental health and wellness content. Access the show's page and show archive information via the podcast box on the Mentalhelp.net home page.

If you like Wise Counsel, you might also like Shrink Rap Radio, my other interview podcast series, which is available online at www.shrinkrapradio.com. Until next time, this is Dr. David Van Nuys, and you've been listening to Wise Counsel.

 

Links Relevant To This Podcast:

About Liana Lowenstein, MSW

Liana Lowenstein, MSWLiana Lowenstein, MSW is a Registered Social Worker and Certified Child Psychotherapist. She is also a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and child and family therapist working in the mental health field since 1988.

As an approved Certified Supervisor with the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy, she provides clinical supervision and consultation to mental health practitioners. She has authored numerous publications including the highly-acclaimed books, Paper Dolls and Paper Airplanes: Therapeutic Exercises for Sexually Traumatized Children (with Crisci & Lay), Creative Interventions for Troubled Children & Youth, Creative Interventions for Children of Divorce, and Creative Interventions for Bereaved Children. She also edited Volumes one and two of Assessment and Treatment Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Techniques. Volume three will be launched in 2011. Her latest publication is Creative Family Therapy Techniques: Play, Art, and Expressive Activities to Engage Children in Family Sessions (Sociology Family Relationships).

Liana is known for her dynamic and entertaining teaching style. She is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and at agency training events across North America and abroad.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    play therapy - liny - May 25th 2011

    very interesting interview. i would like to know more on play therapy and how to use on children, to assess their situation

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