SPT Foundation Research

The Synergetic Play Therapy Foundation has a Research Development Team that oversees on-going research regarding various aspects of Synergetic Play Therapy®. The overarching goal of the Synergetic Play Therapy Foundation’s research initiative is to:

  • Demonstrate an increase in well-being for professionals using Synergetic Play Therapy®

  • Build awareness of the powerful impact of attunement and regulation in the playroom

  • Demonstrate the physiological benefits to a child’s nervous system when receiving this type of play therapy

  • Demonstrate positive impact on parent-child relationships, child behavior, and emotional regulation

Synergetic Play Therapy® (2008) is a researched-informed model of play therapy blending the therapeutic power of play with nervous system regulation, interpersonal neurobiology, physics, attachment, mindfulness, and therapist authenticity. It grew from personal experience as well as research in neuroscience, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and attachment theory.

Current Research Focus

Examining the Impact of SPT on Reducing Compassion Fatigue in SPT Providers
Compassion fatigue refers to an identifiable set of negative psychological symptoms that caregivers experience as a result of providing care while being exposed to either primary trauma (experiencing the trauma first hand) or secondary trauma (rendering care to those experiencing trauma) (Figley, 1995). Mental health professionals are at a higher risk of developing compassion fatigue (Turgoose & Maddox, 2017). To date, very little research has focused on the role of compassion fatigue in play therapists. The proposed study seeks to explore the role of compassion fatigue in Certified Synergetic Play Therapists and those who are studying to become Certified Synergetic Play Therapists. For this study, the research team utilized both quantitative and qualitative data for certified SPT therapists, as well as pre/post surveys for a certification cohort.

SPT Foundation’s Future Research Initiatives will look to:

  • Examine how SPT impacts parent/child relationship quality, indicators of parent regulation and co-regulation, child mental health and biological markers of stress and regulation in the child
  • Evaluate the efficacy of SPT compared to a control group

Research Team

Brittany Redman, LPC
Research Project Lead

Brit is both an SPT therapist and supervisor, and recently joined the SPT research team as project lead. When she isn’t analyzing data, she primarily focuses her time on being a mom herself, while supporting parents on their journey to support their own children. Her passion and training lies in neuroscience, including brain development, brain and body connection, and how trauma impacts development, the nervous system, and perception. She offers a trauma informed approach with a neuroscience lens, and strongly believes in the benefits of embracing one’s authenticity.

Dr. Sarah Jarvie, MA.
Research Project Support

Dr. Sarah Jarvie is a counselor, educator, and researcher. As a licensed professional counselor and Certified Synergetic Play Therapist, she has a background in community mental health and private practice working with clients of all ages from children to adults. She is also a full-time counselor educator and enjoys infusing the connection between clinical practice and the classroom. She is thrilled to be part of the SPTI research team helping develop and coordinate projects to further the research of Synergetic Play Therapy.

Interested in being a part of the research team? Have a research idea? 

Fill out the below form to send our research team an email.