Using Play Therapy to Support Young Children’s Development
Host: Christian Bellissimo
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This workshop will explore how play therapists and mental health professionals can use play therapy to help support children’s emotional development through coaching caregivers and teachers of young children. First, the impact of early adversity on a child’s emotional development, and consequently their behavior, will be presented. Next, the importance of developing a structured, predictable, and consistent daily routine, with clear expectations for behavior, will be reviewed. Finally, participants will learn to utilize a child-centered play therapy coaching model that is intended to strengthen the adult-child relationship and support the child’s acquisition of essential emotional coping skills. The play therapy skills include; following the child’s lead and describing play, naming feelings, framing behavior as a choice and limit setting, and supporting self-regulation through challenging tasks. Video examples will be shared to demonstrate the application of the play therapy skills.
Christian is a graduate of Seton Hall University and Rutgers University, with degrees in Psychology and Clinical Social Work. He is a New Jersey Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Certified School Social Worker, and a Registered Play Therapist with the Association for Play Therapy. In private practice since 1999, Christian worked with a number of children who lost parents and family members on September 11, 2001. His work is cited in the book: Middletown, America: One Town’s Passage from Trauma to Hope, by Gail Sheehy, 2002. As a contracted provider with New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Christian works with the youngest victims of physical and sexual abuse, emotional neglect, and trauma. In 2016, Christian published Universal Play Therapy: A Guide for Supporting Young Children’sDevelopment. Intended for use by parents at home, and teachers in the early childhood classroom, Universal Play Therapy is also an effective coaching model for the practicing play therapist. Christian currently provides workshops to parent groups, early childhood educators, and child therapists in the Universal Play Therapy model.
Christian Bellissimo, MSW, LCSW, RPT, LLC
Child Play Therapist
PO Box 7546 Shrewsbury, New Jersey 07702
P 732-609-7272 F 1-888-502-9807