As a research-informed play therapy model, it is important that we stay current with the latest research on play, neuro-biology, mindfulness, etc. We are in the process of conducting our own research studies on various aspects of Synergetic Play Therapy® particularly regarding its ability to help clinicians with compassion fatigue.
Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling. DOI: 10.1080/23727810.2021.1964931
(2021) “An Examination of Child-Centered Play Therapy and Synergetic Play Therapy”
Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) and Synergetic Play Therapy (SPT) are theories used in the counseling profession to promote healing in child clients. Whereas CCPT has a long-standing history, SPT is relatively new to the field and incorporates ideas from many sources including CCPT, Gestalt Play Therapy, Experiential Play Therapy, attachment theory, and Interpersonal Neurobiology. In this paper, we compare and contrast the philosophies and goals of both models as well as the convergence and divergence in protocols related to treatment progression, toys, limit-setting, and therapeutic statements. We also explore the importance of the relationship and the role of the therapist. This paper concludes with a hypothetical case scenario to further highlight the similarities and differences between CCPT and SPT therapists in action.
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International Journal of Play Therapy. 23(1), 55-63.
Lisa Dion and Kaylin Gray did extensive research that was published in 2014 on “The Impact of therapist Authentic Expression on Emotional Tolerance in Synergetic Play Therapy.”
To date, there is little research on therapist authentic expression with children. The closest explorations of this topic are studies conducted regarding therapist self-disclosure (Capobianco & Farber, 2005; Ginsberg, 2011). No published research has directly addressed the impact of expressing present thoughts, feelings, and body sensations in response to the child client’s stories and play. With new research on neurobiology, this article explores how therapist authentic expression in play therapy might be a helpful component in expanding the clients’ emotional windows of tolerance. Literature on pertinent aspects of self-disclosure, authenticity, and windows of tolerance is reviewed. This article introduces a study exploring the impact of therapist authentic expression on expanding a child’s emotional window of tolerance in Synergetic Play Therapy. Results indicated that there was a statistically significant increase in the percentage of emotionally tolerant behaviors in response to authentic therapist expressions from the first to third play therapy sessions. Also, the entire sample displayed full integration of emotions (100% emotionally tolerant behaviors) by their fifth session. Implications of these findings and for future research are outlined. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy. 54(3), 242-258.
“Moving Toward Regulation Using Synergetic Play Therapy” by Johanna Simmons
Children generally do not possess the complex, expressive language skills needed to communicate the struggles they are experiencing. In response to this, a variety of play therapy models have emerged. This article concentrates on the application of a research-informed model of play therapy delivery called synergetic play therapy (SPT), which combines interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, nervous system regulatory principles, mindfulness, physics, and the self of the therapist. By combining this model with child-centred play therapy (CCPT), the author draws on two case study examples to demonstrate the efficacy of the SPT model when it is coupled with CCPT. The findings and case studies suggest that this approach reduces the severity of identified behavioural concerns. Future investigations in this area are recommended given the gap in the literature regarding combining SPT and CCPT. ((c) 2020 CJCP, all rights reserved)
Author Biography: Johanna Simmons, West Vancouver, British Columbia, is a registered clinical counsellor, a play therapist registered in British Columbia, and a Synergetic Play Therapy Supervisor. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Adler University in Vancouver, where she teaches child development and counselling. She supervises pre-practicum students at the Adler Youth Clinic. She specializes in child counselling and play therapy.
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The Story of Tim – How a Therapist’s Own Experience of Shame and Confusion Helped a Boy Recover from Family Violence
This article was written by Daniel Howell, Senior Child and Family Counsellor at the Australian Childhood Foundation and Certified Synergetic Play Therapist. You can find it here.
An Examination of Adlerian Play Therapy and Synergetic Play Therapy
Johanna Simmons from Vancouver, a trained Adlerian and Synergetic Play Therapist has published a paper demonstrating the similarities between these two models of play therapy in the Canada Association for Play Therapy’s Playground magazine.