A Neurosequential Therapeutic Approach to Play and Play Therapy for Children with Trauma

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Registration is closed.
Both Friday and Saturday Sessions are at Capacity.

PRESENTER: Dr. Rick Gaskill, LCPC, Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor 

WHEN: (Two Sections) June 18th, 2021 & June 19th, 2021 (Both are at capacity)

WHERE: Online (Zoom)


Over the past two decades, research has clearly documented the vulnerability of the developing brain and the negative impact of social and emotional trauma on brain functioning.  It is now apparent that traumatic and neglectful developmental experiences negatively impact normal brain growth in all areas of the brain depending on the nature of the maltreatment, developmental stage of the child, and the quality of the nurturing environment. Science now informs us that these factors cause disorganization in specific areas of the brain and that traditional play therapy interventions may not be equally effective in each region.  While play therapy embodies many neurobiological principles, a “one size fits all” therapeutic approach will be less effective than treatments designed for specific affected brain regions.  As play therapists learn fundamental concepts regarding brain development, brain organization, and the impact of trauma, we become better able to identify effective play therapy treatment options. 

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will be able to identify neurobiological concepts vital to understanding brain processing 
  2. Participants will be able to discuss misperceptions of brain functioning which impair treatment outcome
  3. Participants will list the six key neurological concepts  (6 R’s) present in successful play therapy interventions 
  4. Participants will identify crucial play therapy intervention strategies for trauma encoded in different brain regions
  5.  Participants will integrate treatment strategies into play therapy using the regulate, relate, reason paradigm 
  6. Participants will design patterned and repetitive play therapy activities into episodes into successful  treatment outcomes 

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Gaskill holds a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology and has worked in community mental health for 45 years. Currently, he is Executive Director of Sumner Mental Health Center in Wellington, KS. Rick also served as Children’s Director and Clinical Director before becoming the Executive Director.   He is a Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, and an Infant Mental Health Clinical Mentor. Rick was a founding member and past president of the Kansas Association for Play Therapy and is a pass Chair of the Board of Directors for the national Association for Play Therapy as well have serving as a reviewer for the International Journal for Play Therapy.

 Dr. Gaskill is an adjunct faculty member at Wichita State University, teaching play therapy and supervising play therapy practica since 1995.  He cofounder of the WSU Approved Play Therapy Center in 2010.  Dr. Gaskill has published 4 book chapters (3 with Dr. Bruce Perry Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy), a research article, as well as multiple articles involving the neurobiology of trauma, the use of play therapy, and NMT guided play activities in treating trauma.  He has designed, operated, consulted, and lectured on children’s therapy, therapeutic preschools, trauma informed schools, and the integration of school based mental health services throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia over the past 30 years.  

He received the Chairman’s Award from Future’s Unlimited in 1997 for his work with at risk children and was named the Kansas Head Start Partner of the Year in 2005 for his work with therapeutic preschools. Dr. Gaskill was named a Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas, in 2004. In 2006, he was named one of the Regional Administrator’s Leadership Award Winners for ACF Region VI of the Department of Health and Human Services regarding trauma informed care, and in 2013 served on the Governor’s Mental Health Task Force for the State of Kansas.  In 2014, Dr. Gaskill was honored with the Exemplary Service to Children and Families Award at the Kansas Governor’s Conference for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. In 2015, he was also recognized for his consultation and work with traumatized preschoolers by the National Association to Protect Children and in 2017 Wichita State University awarded him the College of Education’s Champion of Education Award.  Also in 2017, Dr. Gaskill was presented the Alice Eberhart-Wright Visionary Award for his outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of early childhood mental health by the Kansas Association of Infant Mental Health.  Finally, the Kansas Association for Play Therapy named Dr. Gaskill the first recipient of the Rick Gaskill Luminary Award for his contributions to play therapy in the State of Kansas in 2018 naming the award in his honor.  In 2020 Rick was selected for the Wichita State University Hall of Fame.


8:30-9:00Neuroscience background and implications for play therapy
9:00-10:30Identify key brain regions and methods to impact these regions
10:45-12:00Design and sequence neurologically appropriate activities for affected brain regions
12:00-12:45Lunch Break
12:45-1:00AAPT Business Meeting
1:00-2:30Apply the 6 R’s of neurologically informed and biologically sensitive play therapy
2:45-4:00Create a therapeutic web through the use of the 6 R’s 
4:00Post Workshop Exam and Evaluation
All times are in Central Standard Time (CST).


Due to COVID-19 health concerns, this one-time online event has been approved by APT for (6 hrs) CONTACT CE Hours.  Six Contact Hours will be awarded for a full day of attendance. Attendees  must successfully complete a post-test and an evaluation. No partial credit will be awarded. 

Counselors:  Alabama Association for Play Therapy (AAPT) has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6211.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are identified.  Alabama Association for Play Therapy is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Marriage and Family Therapists: The Alabama Board of Examiners in Marriage and Family Therapy (ABEMFT) automatically approves courses that are NBCC approved for CE credit. 

Play Therapists: AAPT is approved by the Association for Play Therapy (APT) to offer continuing education specific to play therapy. APT Approved Provider No. 98-045.   

Social Workers: AAPT is approved by the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners (ASBSWE) to offer continuing education to social workers. ASBSWE Provider No. 0284. 


Group Discount

A discount of $10.00 per registrant for groups of 3 or more registering together. When registering a group online, please register all group members at one time using the add additional attendee link that appears at the end of the registration. Check or money order only if registering by mail. Credit Cards accepted if registering online. No purchase orders accepted.

Special Needs:

Please contact CE & Registration at ceandregistration@alabamaplaytherapy.org, Registration & CE Coordinator if you have special needs for the workshop.

Registration Information:

Early registration is recommended as space is limited to 40 attendees. Spaces are not guaranteed until your registration is processed and the registration fee has been paid. 

CategoryRegistration Fee
AAPT/APT Member$100
Full Time Student$90
*Registration ends at 11:59 CST on Friday, June 4, 2021 or when conference reaches 40 registrants. 

Membership Information: 

Membership applications are available online http://www.a4pt.org/default.asp?page=membership or by emailing membership@alabamaplaytherapy.org


Registrants canceling up to 48 hours before a workshop will receive a tuition refund less a $20 administrative fee. All requests must be made in writing or by email. No refunds issued for any reason after June 15, 2021.  In the unlikely event, the workshop cannot be held, registrants will receive complimentary admission to a rescheduled workshop or a full value voucher, good for one year, for a future workshop.


For REGISTRATION questions contact: CE and Registration Coordinators at ceandregistration@alabamaplaytherapy.org 

For workshop QUESTIONS contact: Amy Davis (256) 577-3428 or pres-elect@alabamaplaytherapy.org