Learn to Play Therapy – Part 2: Refining Skills (2 Day ONLINE Workshop) Wed 23 – Thur 24 February 2022

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Learn to Play Therapy – Part 2: Refining Skills (2 Day ONLINE Workshop) Wed 23 – Thur 24 February 2022

February 23, 2022 @ 9:00 am - February 24, 2022 @ 4:30 pm


Learn to Play Therapy – Part 2: Refining Skills (2 Day ONLINE Workshop)

Wed 23 – Thur 24 February 2022

9am – 4:30pm

Presented by Dr Siobhan Casey and Ms Belinda Dean


*Start and end times are in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, UTC+11:00



This workshop is suitable for those who have completed Learn to Play Therapy – Part 1: Foundation.


This 2 day workshop builds on Learn to Play Therapy – Part 1: Foundation training as it is assumed that participants understand and have knowledge of the development of pretend play and how to carry out play assessments with children who find it difficult to play. Learn to Play Therapy aims to facilitate the ability of a child to spontaneously self-initiate pretend play. The therapeutic skills required to facilitate this ability in children, who find it difficult to play, are explored more deeply in this 2 day ONLINE workshop. *


Participants are introduced to the clinical framework and theoretical underpinnings of Learn to Play Therapy. The importance of creating safety for the child in therapy is explained using Porges Polyvagal theory. The advanced processes and principles are covered and are practiced, including further therapeutic skills to engage children in play such as tracking, empathic reflections, holding, limit setting, and congruence. Break-out rooms in Zoom are utilised for this practice. The three stages of changes in therapeutic skill of the therapist are presented. On the second day more information is covered on working with children who have experienced trauma, and children with autism.


Over the 2 day ONLINE workshop several case studies are worked through from assessment to planning therapy sessions. The workshop focusses on practical problem solving of difficult cases and how to facilitate play ability in children who find it difficult to play. The LIVE online sessions are complemented by pre-workshop activities and open discussion sessions to further explore play materials for therapy sessions, and engagement of children in play. This workshop would be valuable to therapists, social workers, psychologists and early intervention workers who work with families with children under 8 years of age who have a developmental delay.


Pre-Workshop Activities: 2 pre-recorded PowerPoint presentations are provided, plus further reading and other videos. These pre-recorded PowerPoint presentations provide information relevant to the first and second LIVE sessions.


LIVE sessions Workshop content: The LIVE morning sessions include a PowerPoint presentation. The Consolidation open sessions are provided on the afternoons of each LIVE session. These Consolidation open sessions are for discussion of the pre-workshop content, the Powerpoint presentation, using Learn to Play Therapy in therapy, and case studies.


Day 1

  • Therapeutic presence
  • Theoretical framework for Learn to Play Therapy
  • What activity do I use now?
  • Advanced therapeutic skills


Day 2

  • Learn to Play Therapy for children on the autism spectrum
  • Learn to Play adaptation for working in Schools (provided in pre-workshop recording)
  • Group Learn to Play Therapy
  • Learn to Play Therapy with children who have experienced trauma


*The new Learn to Play book: Learn to Play Therapy: Principles, Process and Practical Activities was published in 2021. This 314 page book explains the theoretical underpinnings, principles and process as well as includes an additional 114 pages of play activities by developmental level. It comes with a USB that includes the play activities, parent handouts, and Play Background Checklist. This book is an essential reference source for Learn to Play Therapy.



Dr Siobhan Casey is a paediatric occupational therapist with experience in working with children, their families and teachers in a variety of settings. In 2018, Siobhan was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from Deakin University. Her research primarily focused on understanding the developmental processes that occur for self-regulation and pretend play capacities in supporting resilience in children. Her prior research included identifying important markers and processes for change, for children with Autism participating in the Learn to Play program. Siobhan has presented on pretend play development at conferences both nationally and internationally and enjoys delivering training to a wide range of audiences interested in promoting the opportunity for pretend play development in children.


Siobhan has previously worked in early intervention community settings, private practice and specialist development schools. She is currently working within a mainstream school setting, supporting the implementation of pretend play within the curriculum. The aim of her current role is to support the promotion of student health and well-being within the school, alongside promoting the role of pretend play in supporting the capacity for learning. She is passionate about promoting positive emotional and social wellbeing in children through providing services that are appropriate, purposeful and sensitive to the needs of the child and their family. The Learn to Play program and range of accompanying assessment tools provides a framework for service delivery that is both sensitive and meaningful to a child and their family’s needs and supports this passion. Siobhan continues to research the impact of pretend play development on global developmental functioning and has further interests in researching the role of pretend play development in supporting positive health and wellbeing across the lifespan.



Ms Belinda Dean (BA, MA, RND1, RPT) is a qualified Registered Nurse, Registered Play Therapist and Lecturer in Child Play Therapy at Deakin University. Belinda has over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare field with a focus on Child and Adolescent Health & Development, Mental Health, Community and Family Health. Belinda holds a Master’s Degree in Child Play Therapy and supervises postgraduate Child Play Therapy students at Deakin University. Belinda is the director of Light Heart Play Therapy and a practicing play therapist.


Belinda is passionate about play based models particularly Learn to Play to promote early intervention of biopsychosocial health through play therapy. Belinda’s main areas of research are play based social skill programs to support neuro-diverse adolescents, integrating therapeutic play into nursing and allied health practice and play based andragogy.


Belinda is a past facilitator of the Imagine, Create, Belong program and is a co-author of Storying Beyond Social Difficulties with Neuro-Diverse Adolescents and related published peer reviewed papers. Belinda has presented nationally on this research. Belinda has co-published papers in the Journal of Play in Adulthood: Dean and Parson, Integrating play-based approaches into nursing education: Teachers as playful academics and has a book currently approved for publication in Springer Nature: Parson, Dean and Hadiprodjo, Integrating therapeutic play into nursing and allied health care: A developmentally sensitive approach to communicating with children. Belinda is the co-founder of Light Heart Publishing and Play Based Learning Pty Ltd.



February 23, 2022 @ 9:00 am
February 24, 2022 @ 4:30 pm


Online workshop run via Zoom


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15% Group Discount
Organisations sending 5 or more staff members to the same workshop are entitled to a 15% discount off the total price. To apply for the discount please email Jessica directly at learntoplayevents@gmail.com.

Cancellation and refund policy
Please notify Jessica of any cancellations by email: learntoplayevents@gmail.com.
To receive a full refund please advise your cancellation 8 or more days prior to the commencement of the workshop.
Cancellations made within 7 days prior to the commencement of the workshop will be refunded 50% of the original workshop fee paid.
No refunds will be issued for cancellations made within 48 hours before the commencement of the workshop.
Learn to Play reserves the right to cancel the workshop and issue a full refund of the workshop fee to registrant.