Washington Association for Play Therapy

 Promoting the Healing Power of Play in Washington

2016 WAAPT Fall Conference - Serious Play: Using Play Therapy to Address Depression, Anxiety, Self-harm and Suicidal Ideation

  • October 21, 2016
  • 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Red Lion Hotel & Conference Center Seattle-Renton (1 S Grady Way, Renton, WA 98057)


2016 Washington Association for Play Therapy Fall Conference

Serious Play: Using Play Therapy to Address Depression, Anxiety, Self-harm and Suicidal ideation.


Many problems addressed in therapy are heartbreaking and difficult.  As play therapists, we need to be equipped and confident in dealing with serious subjects. Therapists have to be willing to go to the "dark places" with our clients so they are not left alone in their suffering. The occurrence of self-harm and suicidal ideation is staggering.  Using the curative powers inherent in play therapy, we can help clients can heal and thrive.  Play therapists need to understand suicidal risk factors, effective assessments, and therapeutic interventions. The training will cover numerous play therapy methods to address depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation. Interventions will be taught using experiential and interactive methods. 

Workshop objectives: 

After the session, participants will be able to: 

1. Describe risk factors for suicide and suicide assessment instruments. 

2. Identify three theoretical foundations of Play Therapy and identify appropriate use of the different Play Therapy approaches with depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation. 

3. Discuss recent clinical literature and empirical findings pertaining to self- harm and suicidal ideation. 

4.Describe ten Play Therapy interventions for teens to address: anxiety, self-mutilation, suicidal ideation, and depression.


Holly Willard LCSW, RPT-S is the owner of Grandview Family Counseling, a private practice in Bountiful, Utah. Holly Willard completed her Masters in Social Work from the University of Utah in 2000 and received her LCSW in 2002.  Since that time, she has worked in various clinical settings from school counseling, residential care, foster-care, outpatient clinics and private practice. Holly Willard has extensive background working with children, teens and families.  She specializes in gender specific therapy and attachment issues.  She is an adjunct professor at University of Utah and Westminster.  Holly is a contributor to local television news and radio.  She is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and presents nationally on play therapy topics.  Holly Willard is currently the President of the Utah Play Therapy Board.

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