Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S on Friday, June 17, 2022

Playing Perfectly: A Play Therapist’s Guide for Working with OCD in Play Therapy


From perfectionism to anxiety to self-doubt, the world of a child struggling with OCD can be incredibly overwhelming. Come explore how to support these children in play therapy and discover how their need for perfection is in fact perfect.

Supporting a child struggling with obsessive compulsions and perfectionism can be incredibly challenging as the desire to move the child out of their rigidity and rituals can overshadow the deeper issues and stressors driving the behaviors.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a complex disorder as the reasons behind the behaviors vary from managing anxiety to past traumas to focused energy inside of a child driving them towards their genius and that which is most meaningful.  Due to the complexity, therapists often mis-label, mis-understand and mis-guide these children in how to work with and understand their rituals and need for perfectionism.  Without an understanding of this disorder and how play therapy is able to support the integration of the underlying drivers of the behaviors, play therapists can inadvertently intensify the inner struggle that is often experienced by these children as they attempt to stop, control and even deny the urges in their bodies.   

Drawing from Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioral, and Synergetic Play Therapy theories, this workshop is filled with non-directive and directive play based interventions to help support play therapists on a path to understand the perfection in these children’s perfection, while teaching the child how to do the same.  Play therapists will take a deeper look at the regulatory function of the child’s behaviors that manage the internal conflicts and anxieties these children often carry.  Through discussion and experiential exercises, play therapists will learn how to separate the underlying drivers from the wisdom of the rituals themselves.  With this knowledge, play therapists will learn how to use themselves and many forms of play to help these children access an understanding of the greatest perfection that exists, the child just as they are.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Explore the symptoms of OCD and how they present themselves in play therapy
  2. Discuss OCD as a strategy to regulate the nervous system and how to support the child’s need for regulation
  3. Discuss the possible connection between OCD and a child’s genius and the implications of this when working with OCD in play therapy
  4. Explore how play therapy helps a child with OCD and perfectionism learn how to regulate through their anxiety and need for perfectionism
  5. Explore ways to help a child integrate and manage some of the fears that may be driving the compulsive behaviors
  6. Discuss how a therapist’s own compulsions in a play therapy session can hinder or support a child’s play therapy process


Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S, is the founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute. She is an international teacher, the creator of Synergetic Play Therapy®, host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast and webinar series and author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence.

Day 1 Schedule

Workshop Session I8:30-10:00
Morning Break10:00-10:15
Workshop Session II10:15-12:00
Lunch Break12:00-12:45
AAPT Annual Membership Meeting12:45-1:00
Workshop Session III1:00-2:30
Afternoon Break 2:30-2:45
Afternoon Session 2:45-4:00
All Times are CST

Continuing Education Credit

Six Contact Hours will be awarded for day one (Friday) of attendance.  

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. 

Registration Fees:

AAPT/APT Member$130$150
Non-Member $160$180
Full-Time Student$105$125
Space is not Guaranteed Until Your Registration is Processed.

**REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS Friday, June 10th, 2022**

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.


Scholarships to attend the AAPT workshop will be offered to full-time students who volunteer to be available Thursday evening, June 16th and all-day Friday, June 17th to assist with the conference. Volunteer duties may involve working registration, assisting with setup prior to the event, cleaning up after the event, selling books for the presenter, and preparing materials for the workshop. Students interested in volunteering for the event should contact Ella Watson at or Dr. Amy Davis at and submit proof of enrollment in a counseling or related program (SW, MFT, etc). 

Location: Bruno Conference Center at St. Vincent’s in Birmingham

Special Needs:

Please contact CE & Registration at, Registration & CE Coordinator


Registrants canceling up to 48 hours before a workshop will receive a tuition refund less a $20 administrative fee (per day). All requests must be made in writing or by email. No refunds will be issued for any reason after January 26, 2022.  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.

Membership Information:

To join the Association for Play Therapy’s click here.

 Register Now to secure your spot!

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