Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S, is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and is the past president of the Utah Association for Play Therapy. Throughout her career, she has focused on providing therapy to children, teens, and their families. Clair is the director of Child and Adolescent Services at Wasatch Family Therapy. She is a sought-after supervisor, training graduate students and interns in play therapy, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California MSW program. Clair is the author of Play Therapy: Engaging & Powerful Techniques for the Treatment of Childhood Disorders (PESI, 2018) and My Many Colors of Me Workbook. (Self-Published, 2013). In addition to being an experienced play therapist and professor, she frequently presents professional play therapy and family therapy trainings and appears on local and national TV and radio as an expert on children and family issues.
Financial: Clair Mellenthin is the clinical director at Wasatch Family Therapy. She is the author of My Many Colors of Me Workbook; she maintains intellectual property rights and receives royalties. Ms. Mellenthin receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Clair Mellenthin is the president of the Utah Association for Play Therapy.
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- Assess emotional and behavioural symptoms through play therapy techniques to better inform treatment outcomes.
- Determine the ethical implications and clinical limitations of using play therapy in clinical practice.
- Incorporate attachment-based play activities into your practice to improve client engagement in treatment.
- Determine the neurobiological implications of using play therapy among clients with various diagnoses.
- Develop a plan for introducing play therapy into clinical practice for treatment resistant and challenging children and families.
- Characterize how play therapy can reframe trauma experiences, increase self-regulation and connect to a mind-body awareness.
- Conceptualize attachment patterns that impact parent-child relationships to further advance your clinical practice.
- Implement play therapy interventions to foster engagement with parents in family play therapy in order to repair, and enhance the parent-child relationship.
- Apply mindfulness skills and practice in play therapy treatment to promote self-soothing and affect regulation.
- Articulate the psychological impact and long-term effects of emotional trauma on a client’s mental health.
- Develop treatment strategies to teach attachment-focused parenting techniques.
- Practice expressive arts, sandtray, and child-centred play therapy interventions to enhance engagement with child clients.
Why Play Therapy Works
- Therapeutic power of play
- Facilities communication
- Fosters emotional wellness
- Enhances social relationships
- Increases personal strengths
Assessment and Diagnosis
- Common myths of behaviour disorders
- Systemic assessment of emotional and behavioural distress
- School, home, and community relationships
- Impact of inconsistent and harsh parenting/relationships practices
- Race, gender, ethnicity, culture issues and bias
- Trauma assessment
TREATING DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOUR DISORDERS
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Recurrent behavioural and relational patterns
- Impact on the family system
- Shame and vulnerability (in the family) – The Kryptonite!
- Cycle of disconnect, rejection, and attachment ruptures
- Environmental risk factors
Play Therapy Interventions to Combat Negative Behaviours
- Play-based regulation and co-regulation techniques
- Calm down jars
- Lemon squeezies
- Blast It!
- Guided imagery
- Repair and enhance relationships
- Shame shields
- Feeling monsters
Conduct Disorder Treatment
- Misdiagnosis and misunderstandings
- Gender and racial bias in diagnosis
- Trauma history of the child
- Impact of trauma on brain development and maladaptive coping response
- Patterns of engagement in the home, school, and community
- Impact on family relationships
- Etiology of trauma in disruptive behaviour disorders
- Impact on neurological functioning and development
- PTSD – the most overlooked diagnosis contributing to Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBD)
- Assess for attachment ruptures and relational trauma
- Shame-based punitive parenting
- Repair and restore safety in the home
Play Therapy Interventions to Address Underlying Trauma
- Increase emotional intelligence and understand trauma symptoms
- Bound and rebound
- Expressive arts in play
- Repair and rebuild relationships
- Nurturing spoons
- Volcano inside of me
Play-Based Interventions to Promote Parent/Child Attachment
- Building bridges of connection and communication
- Create emotional safety
- My safe place
- Telling my story
- My many colours of me
Inviting the Parent in the Playroom
- Help the parent become a resource to their child
- Decrease shame and vulnerability in the relationship
- Improve healthy attachment-seeking behaviours
- Repair attachment wounds and ruptures
- Teach positive parenting strategies
- Mental Health Clinicians
- School Counselors
- Social Workers
- Marriage and Family Therapists
- Play Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech-Language Pathologists
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